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Tuesday September 17th, 2019 9:01PM

The Latest: Booker says Dems must have 'faith in our ideals'

By The Associated Press
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CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on nearly all 2020 Democratic presidential candidates speaking at Iowa's "Wing Ding" fundraiser (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is calling on Democrats to take on President Donald Trump with "faith in our ideals" and to "overcome his darkness with our light."

Speaking at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding fundraiser, Booker is reminding the crowd that "we have overcome worse times and darker times."

Booker, with his voice fading after a week of outspoken advocacy for gun control on the campaign trail, is comparing the current political era to major moments in civil rights history.

He argues that "this is a referendum on us, and who we are going to be to each other." The sermon-like speech drew huge applause from the crowd.

___

8:05 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is warning Iowa Democrats that President Donald Trump will win re-election unless Democrats have an argument that "speaks to the pain and reality of the working families of this country."

Sanders didn't mention any of his opponents, who also are addressing the Wing Ding Dinner on Friday night in Clear Lake, Iowa.

But the Vermont senator says Democrats must take on the power of corporate America and the wealthiest individuals who bankroll the political system.

Sanders got a friendly reception at the dinner, but he's not yet finding the same groundswell in the state that propelled him to a surprising near-draw with Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa Democratic caucuses.

___

7:20 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg says President Donald Trump is "coddling white nationalism," and the South Bend, Indiana, mayor is calling on Iowa voters to help him "change the channel."

Buttigieg has received a strong response from the crowd at the Wing Ding fundraiser, with loud applause continuing through his fiery speech.

He says "white nationalism is a national security threat," telling the assembled Democratic activists and operatives to reclaim values like freedom and patriotism from conservatives.

Buttigieg says, "We've gotta do something completely different." He says he doesn't know if the Trump White House is a "horror show" or a "reality show," but the country needs new programing.

___

7 p.m.

Environmental activist and new presidential candidate Tom Steyer is launching his first pitch to Iowa voters by embracing his status as a billionaire.

Steyer says at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding dinner that his business success makes him "the only person in this race" who can directly challenge fellow billionaire Donald Trump on his "fraud."

Steyer says the president's "pattern of fraud" in business and in politics depends on "lies" and sticking "others with the bill."

The California Democrat has spent millions of his own fortune advocating for action on the climate crisis, registering young voters and pushing Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

___

6:50 p.m.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says the country is "embarrassed and ashamed" by President Donald Trump's "incoherent behavior on the world stage" — but he will still be very difficult to beat in 2020.

Hickenlooper is telling Iowa's "Wing Ding" fundraiser that Donald Trump's approval rating is at 42 percent, only a bit lower than Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama before they won re-election. He also says neither Reagan nor Obama had "an economy as strong as the one today."

Hickenlooper says the Democrats need to look at history to beat Trump. He's taking a swipe at the numerous Democratic senators seeking the White House, saying no senator has ever beaten a sitting president — only former governors have.

___

6:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential hopefuls have begun speaking at the "Wing Ding" party fundraiser in northern Iowa, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of neighboring Minnesota kicking things off.

Klobuchar is joking about the number of candidates set to speak Friday night in the town of Clear Lake, noting the event wasn't as well attended when she addressed it previously. She says, "Last time I had 20 minutes, and this time I have 20 candidates."

Klobuchar is also mentioning last week's mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, saying President Donald Trump has stoked fear and hate nationwide.

She adds, "He is afraid of" the National Rifle Association and having "a woman in the White House."

She is urging the crowd, "Let's build a future free of fear."

___

4:45 p.m.

Nearly all the Democrats running for president are descending on northern Iowa to make personal pitches to hundreds of would-be supporters in the state that kicks off presidential primary voting.

Around 20 candidates are speaking at Friday night's Wing Ding, an annual fundraiser featuring chicken wings in Clear Lake, population about 8,000.

The event coincides with the state fair in Des Moines, and most White House hopefuls have been crisscrossing Iowa for days, some by bus or RV.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke canceled his planned Iowa visit to remain in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where a mass shooting killed 22 people.

O'Rourke said Friday on Facebook that he'll attend more funerals and continue hospital visits, but will rejoin the campaign "at some point" and "sooner or later."

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