TV gigs and salty slips: a week on the US campaign trail

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Tulsi Gabbard was pipped to the podium by two candidates who were no longer running

Tulsi Gabbard was pipped to the podium by two candidates who were no longer running (AFP Photo/BILL PUGLIANO)

Washington (AFP) - A candidate who came fourth in a three-way race, a new career in talk shows and a technical slip made while insulting a voter to his face: this was the latest week on the US campaign trail.

- Better luck next time -

Even though there are only three candidates left in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination, Tulsi Gabbard failed to make it into the top three in the states that voted on Tuesday.

With former vice president Joe Biden in pole position ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the Hawaii congresswoman was pipped to a podium finish by candidates who had already dropped out.

Third place on "Super Tuesday II" went to former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Elizabeth Warren, both of whom had already dropped out.

The upset came because ballot papers had been put together several weeks before the field narrowed, to allow US citizens living abroad to vote.

- Change of career? -

Where do presidential hopefuls go once they have dropped out of the race for the nomination? Pete Buttigieg, who withdrew at the beginning of March, appeared to have made a quick leap into the job of talkshow host. On Thursday, he presented "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," one of the most-viewed shows in the United States.

The official YouTube account for the show said Kimmel had to take a break but wanted to use his absence to give "the recently unemployed" former mayor of South Bend Indiana a shot.

The only fly in the ointment for Buttigieg's debut was the fact that because of the coronavirus outbreak, he had to play to an empty auditorium.

He used the absence to take a shot at President Donald Trump though, noting: "When you don't have a real audience, you have to fake one. Just like Trump's inauguration."

- Let's dance -

Talking of life after the nomination race, Warren, who dropped out after Super Tuesday, made headlines when she appeared on the popular comedy show "Saturday Night Live."

The Massachusetts senator appeared with the actress who regularly impersonates her on the show, Kate McKinnon.

The pair acted out the Tik Tok-inspired "Flip the Switch" challenge, in which people take turns to dance one behind the other, then swap places and outfits.

The clip immediately went viral and has been viewed more than 22 million times.

- Technical slip -

Biden, who swept another round of primary votes this week, made yet another of his famous slip-ups while being filmed at a Michigan auto plant telling a worker who challenged his stance on gun control that the man was "full of shit."

The man could be heard on the footage accusing Biden of "actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment right and take away our guns," to which the former VP offered his salty retort.

But the 77-year-old then made a gaffe when he referred to the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, which has been used in a number of shooting sprees across the country, as an "AR-14," prompting Twitter to trend with mockery of the expression.