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Tulsi Gabbard in SC says dropping out of Democratic race hasn't been discussed

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Election 2020 Tulsi Gabbard (copy) (copy)

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard held South Carolina's political landscape all to herself Wednesday, landing for a series of appearances following her low 3 percent finish in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

Talking to reporters in North Charleston, Gabbard gave no hint of ending her long-shot bid, saying it hasn't been discussed within the campaign.

"I know that our path forward lies in continuing to be able to reach out directly to voters and deliver our message about how I'm the best candidate to defeat Trump in November," she said.

She is planning for multiple South Carolina town halls ahead of the Feb. 29 vote. The Hawaii congresswoman and Army veteran is also continuing to air TV ads in South Carolina.

None of the rest of the field was here Wednesday, either taking time off or moving toward Nevada and that state's Feb. 22 caucus.

Another long-shot candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick had been scheduled to be in Orangeburg on Wednesday, but he withdrew from the race after Tuesday night's showing.

Gabbard repeated her charge that media and Democratic National Committee officials were working to tamp down her exposure, including by the rules of getting on debate stages.

"I'm going to continue to work every day to get our message out to as many South Carolina voters as possible," she said.

When asked about her defamation lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gabbard said she is not backing down.

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Gabbard filed the suit in connection with a podcast interview last year in which Clinton appeared to call her "the favorite of the Russians” and being groomed to be a third-party candidate.

"I have dedicated my entire adult life to serving our country," she said, adding Clinton's "baseless accusations (are) not just a simple attack; she is devaluing the very basis of who I am."

Gabbard also rejected a charge made on Twitter by former S.C. lawmaker and CNN commentator Bakari Sellers.

Sellers accused her of staying in the race as a launchpad toward becoming a media personality.

"Why is Tulsi still in? How long is this Fox News audition?" he said.

Gabbard responded "He's wrong."

She added, "I wish Bakari would actually listen to what I'm saying, listen to my call for an end to regime change wars, to end this new Cold War nuclear arms race and instead to invest our taxpayer dollars towards actually serving the needs of residents and voters here in South Carolina."

Gabbard's other planned stops Wednesday were in Beaufort and Hilton Head Island.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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