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Joe Biden says he'll win Republican-leaning states in the South

Biden leads CBS News Battleground Tracker poll

Joe Biden believes that if he's the Democratic nominee, he'll win the South. Though in the past, some Democrats have contemplated skipping over the South, where it's been notoriously difficult for a Democrat to win, the former vice president claimed that wouldn't be his strategy.

"I plan on campaigning in the South," Biden said at the Moral Action Congress of the Poor People's Campaign, in Washington, D.C. Monday. "I plan on, if I'm your nominee, winning Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, believe it or not, and I believe we can win Texas and Florida, if you look at the polling data now." 

The question to Biden came at an event focused on poverty and the economy. It took note of the fact that many of the country's poorer economies are in the South -- not just mostly minority communities, but also largely white communities. The ten candidates appearing before the forum were asked whether they'd campaign in these parts of the country, where poverty crosses racial and gender divides.  

"I have no intention of walking away," Biden said. 

A University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll released Monday found President Trump's reelection support evenly split -- half of registered voters in Texas would vote for Mr. Trump in 2020, and half would not. Though his Republican support there is strong, with 73% saying they'd "definitely" vote for Mr. Trump, 60% of independents said they would not vote for Mr. Trump if the election were held today.

However, if history is any predictor, Biden -- should he win the Democratic nomination -- would face a steep climb on fulfilling the promise of winning all the southern states he named at the forum. Neither Texas nor South Carolina has voted to send a Democrat to the White House since Jimmy Carter ran in 1976. Georgia, meanwhile, hasn't voted for the Democrat in a presidential election since it went for Bill Clinton in 1992. 

Biden also warned against those who would use immigration as a wedge issue, and he took a swipe at the president in the process.

"Stop letting these guys use the divisions in the country as a means -- like charlatans always do -- to divide the country. 'Well, the reason why that black man doesn't have a job in your county is because of that white immigrant coming across the border here, or that Hispanic, or that Muslim or whatever,'" he said. 

"It's used by charlatans all the time. And we have a guy in the White House who's turned it into an art form. It has to end. It has to end."  

Bo Erickson and Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.

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