(CNN) – Seven Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage Tuesday for a pivotal debate in South Carolina.
Many of them say they will have a new strategy: take down Bernie Sanders.
Joe Biden may have the most to lose.
The former Vice President has staked everything on South Carolina, which he has called his firewall.
Recent polls show Biden has some serious competition from Sanders.
Sander’s recent comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro drawing criticism from his rivals.
Sanders said in those comments, “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Sanders standing by his statement in a CNN town hall.
“You know what, I think teaching people to read and write is a good thing. The truth is the truth, and that’s what happened in the first years of the Castro regime,” said Sanders.
Pete Buttigieg says Sanders’ views could be extremely harmful to Democrats’ chances of defeating President Trump.
“As a Democrat, I don’t want to be explaining why our nominee is encouraging people to look on the bright side of the Castro regime going into the election of our lives,” said Buttigieg.
Buttigeig also reminded voters to remember his early success in Iowa.
“I’m the best alternative to Sen. Sanders because I’m the only one who’s beat him this year, anywhere,” Buttigeig said.
Joe Biden is laser-focused on winning the “first in the South” primary.
“It all starts here in South Carolina. It starts here, for real. For real. Because now we have a state that looks like America,” Biden said.
Tom Steyer previewed how he plans to knock down Sanders’ approach.
“And I want to say I disagree with his solutions in many instances,” said Styer, “I don’t think a government takeover of major parts of the american economy is a good idea.”
Despite a disappointing start to the primary season, Elizabeth Warren assured voters she’s not ready to back down.
“At this moment, when so much is on the line. Do we back up. Do we get timid? Do we lower our voices? or do we fight back? Me, I’m fighting back. I’m fighting back,” Warren said.
Amy Klobuchar emphasized the importance of uniting the country.
“Put someone at the top of ticket that brings people that gets it — that gets how to bring people in, instead of shutting them out,” said Klobuchar.
Michael Bloomberg, who is not on the ballot in South Carolina, is switching up his debate strategy to focus on one particular candidate: Sanders.