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Biden expected to make overtures to Sanders’ supporters in first one-on-one debate

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Posted on : March 16, 2020

(CNN)As Joe Biden is set to debate one-on-one against Bernie Sanders for the first time, the former vice president Sunday night will attempt to make overtures to the Vermont senator and his supporters on areas where they can find common ground, an aide to Biden said.

The expected effort showcases one of the tasks Biden faces as he works to secure the Democratic presidential nomination — making the case for his brand of politics while not alienating Sanders’ fervent supporters, which the former vice president would need to win over heading into a general election.
Biden previewed one possible overture Friday when he announced his endorsement of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s bankruptcy proposal, which includes student loan debt relief in bankruptcy. Biden called the proposal “one of the things that I think Bernie and I will agree on.” As CNN previously reported, a Biden campaign aide said the former vice president would likely say more about his support of the proposal in the debate Sunday night.
    On Wednesday, Sanders previewed some of the issues he plans to press Biden on, including health care, climate change and economic inequality.
    The debate takes place against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic as both Biden and Sanders have criticized the Trump administration for its response and offered their approaches for tackling the crisis.
      Sunday’s debate marks the first time Biden is going against an opponent one-on-one this cycle, meaning he will have significantly more time in the spotlight compared to previous debates where he had limited speaking time and delivered uneven performances.
      But it’s not his first experience in this one-on-one debate format. His vice presidential debates against Sarah Palin in 2008 and Paul Ryan in 2012 are considered to be among his strongest performances — though those were against Republicans and occurred roughly a decade ago.

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