NOEL KING, HOST:
Six states will hold Democratic primary contests tomorrow, including Missouri, where Joe Biden was this weekend. He's trying to stay the frontrunner.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JOE BIDEN: With your help, we're creating a movement here, a movement - a movement powered by the backbone - the backbone of the Democratic Party; a movement that will defeat Donald Trump and restore the soul of this nation. Folks...
KING: NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez was traveling with the Biden campaign. Here he is.
FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: In Kansas City Saturday, Representative Emanuel Cleaver was reminiscing about a turning point in Biden's campaign.
EMANUEL CLEAVER: Then, a guy shows up by the name of Clyburn. And...
ORDOÑEZ: He's talking about Jim Clyburn, the influential South Carolina congressman whose endorsement set in motion Biden's 11-state haul of primary victories.
CLEAVER: And he says to them, unbind him, and let him go.
CLEAVER: And the people of South Carolina did the unbinding, and now Joe is on the go.
ORDOÑEZ: Biden's stops in St. Louis and Kansas City, where African Americans make up a major voting bloc, reflect the importance black voters play in his campaign. But Missouri is not South Carolina, where black voters made up a majority of the electorate. The Midwest state has many different types of Democratic voters - rural white moderates, college-educated suburbanites and other rural voters who, like Bernie Sanders, want a revolution to rip things up to start all over again. The former vice president is popular with older voters and black voters. Younger and Hispanic voters often prefer the Vermont senator.
ANTHONY JONES: Well, I actually like Bernie's ideas. Obviously, he's very popular among my generation, among millennials.
ORDOÑEZ: That's Anthony Jones (ph), who attended Biden's St. Louis rally. Policywise, Jones says he and Sanders see eye to eye. Jones says he's ready for a revolution; he's just not sure the rest of the country is.
JONES: At the end of the day, as a Democrat, I just want to win. I want to get back to normal. I want to get back to where the president's uniting the country, not destroying the country, not tearing the country apart. I want to have a president that's not tweeting more than my 15-year-old cousin.
ORDOÑEZ: An Emerson College poll shows Biden ahead in Missouri by 4 points. But Sanders rallies supporters today in St. Louis, and energy at the Sanders campaign was high this weekend.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTER: And we deserve...
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTERS: And we deserve...
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTER: ...Full equality...
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTERS: ...Full equality...
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTER: ...Right here...
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTERS: ...Right here...
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTER: ...Right now.
UNIDENTIFIED SANDERS SUPPORTERS: ...Right now.
ORDOÑEZ: Volunteers at the Sanders Kansas City headquarters boasted that supporters knocked on almost 10,000 doors Saturday during Biden's swing through the state.
(SOUNDBITE OF KNOCKING)
ORDOÑEZ: One door-knocker, Essence Jewel (ph), is a college junior. She told those who answered their doors that she already has tens of thousands of student debt. She has family without health insurance and fears she won't be able to afford having children when she's older.
ESSENCE JEWEL: I feel trapped right now, and I feel like he's the only person who is fighting to make sure that I have a future that is really livable. One day I want to own a house. How can I do that if I already have tens of thousands of dollars in debt?
ORDOÑEZ: The Sanders team notes he barely lost Missouri to Hillary Clinton in 2016. And they say his local campaign has only gotten stronger, faster and smarter since then.
Franco Ordoñez, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.