rain.png
Thursday May 28th, 2020 1:02AM

Biden, Buttigieg amplify Sanders criticism before Iowa vote

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) — Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden stepped up their criticisms of Bernie Sanders on Thursday, as moderates are under growing pressure to dull any momentum the progressive senator may gain heading into next week's Iowa caucuses.

Biden, a former vice president, was blunt when asked by reporters to contrast himself with Sanders, who has long identified as a democratic socialist and was elected as an independent senator from Vermont.

“I’m a Democrat," Biden told reporters. “He’s not a registered Democrat, to the best of my knowledge. And Bernie has a different view — I mean everything I’ve suggested to you that I want to do, I’ve figured out how to pay for it."

Sanders signed a loyalty pledge with the party last year that acknowledges he's a member of the Democratic Party and would serve as one if elected president.

Buttigieg, meanwhile, bemoaned Sanders' demands for adherence to progressive ideals as “a kind of politics that says you've got to go all the way here and nothing else counts.”

The tougher talk comes as a greater urgency sets in among moderates in the race to prevent Sanders from notching early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. That could give him momentum heading into later contests that will decide who wins the Democratic nomination.

The pressure is mounting as moderates struggle to unite behind a clear standard-bearer. While Biden remains atop the field in many national polls, his support has slipped some in the early voting states. Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who have framed themselves as Midwestern consensus builders, have had bigger crowds than Biden across Iowa over the past week and believe they have an opportunity to peel off some of his support.

As the moderates struggle to coalesce, they're also attacking each other, increasingly turning the Democratic primary into a multi-pronged battle.

In addition to his critique of Sanders, Buttigieg dismissed what he characterized as Biden’s assertion that it’s not time to “take a risk on someone new." That's an implicit argument that the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, doesn't have the experience needed to be president.

“History has shown us that the biggest risk we could take with a very important election coming up is to look to the same Washington playbook and recycle the same arguments and expect that to work against a president like Donald Trump, who is new in kind,” Buttigieg said.

Biden began the day focused on contrasting himself mostly against Trump, arguing, “I don't believe we are the dark, angry nation that Donald Trump sees in his tweets in the middle of the night."

But he couldn't ignore his Democratic rivals entirely. He later issued a warning to voters, saying “we can’t let this Democratic race slide into a negative treatment of one another."

“We have differences," Biden continued. "We can argue about these differences. We have to be able, when we come out of this, to unite the party.”

Under prodding from reporters during a brief stop for ice cream in Pella, Iowa, Biden responded to Buttigieg's criticisms.

“I don't know what Pete’s talking about. He’s a good guy, and I’m not gonna get into — he must be deciding things are getting a little tight,” he said with a smile.

Asked what he saw as his biggest contrast with Buttigieg, however, Biden noted, “I’ve gotten more than 8,600 votes in my life” — a reference to the fact that Buttigieg won his 2015 mayoral race with just over 8,500 votes.

Buttigieg has hesitated until now to criticize his opponents by name, though he did repeatedly question Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren last fall on how she planned to finance a policy to provide health insurance to all Americans.

And while his pivot to associating Biden and Sanders specifically with the “arguments from before” was noticeable, Buttigieg's aides signaled that a shift to a more direct contrast between the candidates was long-planned. The final thrust, the aides said, is to turn doubt about his experience on its head by making the better-known candidates seem risky.

For Biden's part, he's long been reluctant to engage with his opponents, hoping to focus largely on drawing a general election contrast with Trump based on histemperament and character. The campaign believes that approach highlights some of Biden's main advantages with voters: that he’s seen by many as the strongest Trump challenger and that voters can connect with Biden on a personal, emotional level.

Iowa Democratic strategist Matt Paul, who ran Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign in 2016, said he was “surprised” it’s taken the candidates this long to go after one another by name — and he warned that Buttigieg’s comments could backfire.

“I’ve actually been surprised, with this many people in the field, with a race as undefined and as fluid as it's been, that others didn’t try and find that contrast earlier. It’s dangerous to roll out contrasts this late because you do have to be careful, and in Iowa — especially if it gets personal — there tends to be blowback,” he said.

Indeed, some voters at Biden’s events said they didn't like the negativity among Democratic candidates. Patricia Cooke, a 75-year-old retiree from Newton who had been deciding between Biden and Buttigieg but leaning towards Biden, compared Buttigieg’s comments to when Warren sparred with Sanders on stage at the last debate, which she said made Warren look “small.”

“I don't like that. it just doesn’t make them look good. They should focus on Trump,” she said.

___

Beaumont reported from Decorah, Iowa.

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “ Ground Game.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump rails against Democratic rivals ahead of Iowa caucuses
President Donald Trump is lashing out at his top Democratic presidential rivals while taking his fight to the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa and the crucial battleground state of Michigan
9:25PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Biden, Buttigieg amplify Sanders criticism before Iowa vote
Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden are stepping up their criticisms of Bernie Sanders, seeking to dull any momentum the progressive senator may gain heading into next week's Iowa caucuses
9:22PM ( 11 minutes ago )
China reports new cases, deaths as virus declared emergency
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak sparked by a new virus in China that has spread to more than a dozen countries a global emergency after the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week, including the highest death toll in a 24-hour period reported Friday
9:12PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
2 moderates, Biden and Buttigieg, diverge on strategy to win
Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have the same goal: emerging from the Iowa caucuses as the moderate alternative to progressive rival Bernie Sanders
8:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump counters Senate impeachment trial with Midwest visit
President Donald Trump is serving up counterprogramming to his impeachment trial by promoting his new trade deal and rallying supporters in two Midwestern states he views as crucial to his reelection
8:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
Voters' 2nd choices could be decisive in close Iowa caucuses
With overwhelming uncertainty looming over the the Iowa caucuses, presidential campaigns are scrambling to navigate an evolving playing field in which voters' second choices could matter almost as much as their first
7:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Wary of irking China, Trump offers rosy take on virus threat
President Donald Trump says he hopes the outbreak caused by a new virus in China won't be as bad as some people think it could be
5:31PM ( 4 hours ago )
Experts on Dershowitz's impeachment defense: Quid pro whoa
Alan Dershowitz delivered a stunning defense of President Donald Trump in the Senate that would essentially make it impossible to impeach a president for anything he might do to boost his reelection prospects
5:17PM ( 4 hours ago )
Trump defense claims acts to help reelection not impeachable
Alan Dershowitz delivered a stunning defense of President Donald Trump in the Senate that would essentially make it impossible to impeach a president for anything he might do to boost his reelection prospects
3:45PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Elections
Key questions asked during impeachment trial
Senators in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial have posed dozens of questions to White House lawyers and to House Democrats prosecuting the case
11:27AM ( 10 hours ago )
Biden under pressure to prove he can thwart new GOP attacks
Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are campaigning in Iowa just days from the state's lead-off caucuses
11:26AM ( 10 hours ago )
Dershowitz says his Trump impeachment defense 'distorted'
Retired professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Donald Trump' impeachment defense team, is now saying his sweeping argument against conviction in the trial was misunderstood
11:19AM ( 10 hours ago )
General Election News
Bloomberg unveils Super Bowl ad focused on gun violence
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg will use his Super Bowl ad to highlight his efforts to combat gun violence as he blankets the airwaves against President Donald Trump
7:21AM ( 14 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Get ready for Thursday, January 30th with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
6:01AM ( 15 hours ago )
Asked and answered? Senators have their say in Trump trial
Fidgety senators had their first chance to do something other than sit in silence at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial
12:34AM ( 21 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
Collins expected to try ousting new GA senator in GOP battle
A Republican official says conservative Georgia Rep. Doug Collins is expected to challenge newly appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler for her Senate seat this year
11:31PM ( 2 days ago )
Democrats struggle with how directly to knock Sanders
With Bernie Sanders rising in the polls and expressing confidence in his ability to win Iowa's Democratic caucuses, his opponents are grappling with the challenge of stopping him
8:48PM ( 3 days ago )
Democrats' competing impulses: Should they fight or unite?
A Democratic presidential race that started as a struggle between the activist left and the moderate wings of the party has become something far less ideological and more emotional as the first nominating contest has come into view
7:32PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Trump rails against Democratic rivals ahead of Iowa caucuses
President Donald Trump is lashing out at his top Democratic presidential rivals while taking his fight to the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa and the crucial battleground state of Michigan
9:25PM ( 9 minutes ago )
China reports new cases, deaths as virus declared emergency
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak sparked by a new virus in China that has spread to more than a dozen countries a global emergency after the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week, including the highest death toll in a 24-hour period reported Friday
9:12PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Key Republicans could tip Trump trial vote toward witnesses
Key Republican senators who could tip President Donald Trump's impeachment trial toward more witnesses are playing an over-sized role with pointed questions in the final hours of debate ahead of crucial votes
9:11PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Grand Canyon visit inspired Kobe Bryant's pilot to fly
The helicopter pilot for Kobe Bryant had a reputation for his skills at the controls and his smile in the air
8:57PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Estranged husband accused of killing Jennifer Dulos dies
A lawyer for a Connecticut man charged with murdering his missing wife amid a contentious divorce case says his client has died
8:53PM ( 41 minutes ago )