SPARTANBURG, SC — Joe Biden’s first bid for president ended in scandal, and his second collapsed after a poor showing in Iowa.
His third bid, and three decade quest, for the White House is boiling down to whether he wins the seal of approval from voters here in South Carolina, where a solid victory could give him a boost of momentum heading into Super Tuesday. 
A second-place finish here — perhaps even a narrow victory — could be the kiss of death for Mr. Biden’s White House aspirations.
Delivering his closing argument in a gymnasium at Wofford College, Mr. Biden emphasized the key role that voters in South Carolina — particularly black voters — have played in picking presidents, crediting them with fueling the rise of former Presidents Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008.
Mr. Biden told them they can do it again here in the primary Saturday.
“You hold in your hand the future of the Democratic Party, determining who is most likely to be the next nominee, and the next nominee has to, has to, beat Donald Trump” Mr. Biden said. “If you send me out of here with a victory that is significant then I think I am going to be the next nominee.”
When President Trump is gone, he said the days of thousands of South Carolinians being denied health care will end.
“The days of the NRA and the gun manufacturers owning the Oval office will be done,” he said. “The days of white supremacists and hate groups having a fire in the White House will be gone, and the days of the climate deniers sitting in the most powerful office in the world will be over.”
The South Carolina primary begins a crucial four-day stretch in the nomination race that could bolster Sen. Bernard Sanders’ front runner status, and help bring some clarity to whether any of the candidates could emerge as the clear alternative to him.
It also could go a long way in determining whether the party could be headed for a contested convention, which could pit far-left grassroots activists against the elements of the party that are less liberal “establishment.”
Mr. Sanders is riding high after putting together a close second place win in Iowa and pair of victories in New Hampshire and Nevada. The Vermont independent has captured 45 of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination outright on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention.
Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg has 25, followed by Mr. Biden, 15 and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 8, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, 7.
There are 54 delegates and bragging rights on the line here on Saturday.
Mr. Biden announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta have endorsed his campaign. He was joined at a campaign stop here by Lonnie R. Stephenson, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Former State Representative Fletcher Smith introduced Mr. Biden, praising the role he played in the Obama administration.
“This man I know will build on the record of Barack Hussein Obama with the Biden vision,” Mr. Smith said.
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