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Biden recalls mass shooting, promises changes

Las Vegas: Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a fiery speech at the Clark County Democratic Party gala a week before the Nevada presidential preference caucuses as he drew sharp distinctions with Bernie Sanders on guns and healthcare.

Biden didn't call Sanders' name Saturday night as he stood in a casino ballroom and recalled the worst mass shooting in modern American history that occurred several hundred yards away in 2017.

Then the former vice president alluded to the Sanders' Senate vote for a 2005 law that gave gun manufacturers immunity from civil lawsuits related to gun violence.

It's a horrible, horrible decision, Biden said, asking the audience to imagine Big Tobacco having legal immunity. He recalled meeting parents of children killed in school shootings. I will not rest until they're able to sue the gun manufacturers, he said.

Biden later turned to health care. Again without naming Sanders, Biden repeated a recent argument from the power Culinary Union that a single-payer Medicare for All system would eliminate union members' health coverage won through collective bargaining. Biden touted his idea to add a public option to existing health insurance markets.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders laced into billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Democratic Party dinner in Las Vegas.

Sanders rattled off a list of Bloomberg heresies against the Democratic party -- implementing racist policies like stop and frisk in New York, opposing the minimum wage or higher taxes on the wealthy during the Obama administration.

"The simple truth is that mayor Bloomberg with all his money will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to have the voter turnout we must have to defeat Donald Trump, Sanders said.

It was a rare attack by name from Sanders. Bloomberg is skipping the Nevada caucuses and was not at the Clark County Democratic Party dinner where Sanders and other 2020 contenders spoke.

Some Nevada Democrats who made Bernie Sanders their first choice in the state's early caucus voting say they think he has a better chance of being elected president now than he did in 2016.

Solana Kline of Reno says she supported Sanders last time too, but didn't think he could win so she opted for Hillary Clinton because she was more mainstream. Kline says the whole political climate has changed since then and Sanders vs. Donald Trump would be viewed more as good vs. evil.

Clinton carried Nevada in 2016, but Sanders won in Washoe County, which includes Reno and Sparks.

Brian Feeney says Sanders has more support and is better positioned to win this time around. The 42-year-old behavioral analyst who works with children with autism at the University of Nevada, Reno says he may consider the Green Party candidate if Sanders isn't the Democratic nominee.

Margaret Hines of Reno also backed Clinton in 2016 but says Sanders is inspiring voters to take back their power from leaders in Washington.

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