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Friday February 28th, 2020 9:32PM

The Latest: Klobuchar to Buttigieg: Experience a good thing

By The Associated Press
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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 Democratic presidential debate and the upcoming primary in New Hampshire (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is unloading on former Mayor Pete Buttigieg at Democrats' presidential debate for saying that watching the chaos in Washington almost made him want to change the channel to cartoons.

“It’s easy to go after Washington,” she said Friday, but “it’s much harder to lead.”

Klobuchar took Buttigieg to task especially for his mockery of the Senate impeachment proceedings. She noted the “courageous” votes of Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. Both men voted to convict Trump — Romney on one count — and remove him from office.

In her sharpest blow, Klobuchar implicitly compared Buttigieg’s argument to the man Democrats hope to topple in November. “We have a newcomer in the White House now, and look where it got us,” she said. “I think having some experience is a good thing.”

___

8:40 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg says that the Obama administration met the moment of their day and “now we have to meet this moment."

Buttigieg sought to turn his relative lack of experience in politics into an advantage at Friday's Democratic debate in New Hampshire.

He was challenged by Joe Biden, who listed off some of his accomplishments during a long tenure in politics, including the Violence Against Women Act. Biden said, “I don't know what about the past of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was so bad” and called for “someone who knows how to get things done.”

In his reply, Buttigieg noted the accomplishments of the Obama administration and said that “now, we have to meet this moment.”

Biden and Buttigieg have previously clashed over a contrast in their ages and elected experience.

The candidates brought a renewed intensity to Friday night's debate following the chaotic results of the Iowa caucuses.

___

8:30 p.m.

Neither Elizabeth Warren nor Pete Buttigieg is proving willing to criticize Bernie Sanders for embracing democratic socialism in the opening moments of the Democratic debate.

Warren, a Massachusetts senator, was asked about saying previously that she is “a capitalist to my bones.” But she refused to make a major contrast at Friday's debate in New Hampshire, saying only, “Bernie and I have been friends for a long time.”

Warren said the “fundamental question” is “how we bring our party together” and talked about fighting government corruption, saying it is “an issue we can all agree on.”

Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said he wasn’t interested in labels like socialism. He and Sanders, a senator from Vermont, went on to clash on policy rather than on ideological labels.

Sanders says being a democratic socialist won’t make it harder to defeat President Donald Trump in November because “Donald Trump lies all the time” anyway.

___

8:25 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says he's confident Democrats can unify to defeat President Donald Trump, despite the president's attempts to paint Sanders' self-avowed "democratic socialist" label in a negative light.

Sanders opened Friday night's debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, saying that he viewed energizing turnout as vital to a Democratic victory in November.

“No matter who wins this damned thing, we're all going to stand together to defeat Donald Trump,” he added.

Sanders was asked to respond to Trump's comments earlier this week to Fox News, when the president said, “I think of communism when I think of Bernie."

Asked if they had concerns about a top-of-the-ticket candidate with a "democratic socialist" moniker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Tom Steyer raised their hands.

This is the final debate before next week's first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.

___

8:15 p.m.

Joe Biden is acknowledging he “took a hit” in Iowa and says he'll “probably take a hit” in New Hampshire as well.

Biden was asked early in Friday's Democratic debate in New Hampshire why he thinks his party would be taking a risk by nominating either Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg. Biden finished a distant fourth in Iowa's caucuses on Monday, while Sanders and Buttigieg finished in a near tie for first.

The former vice president noted that Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist.” Biden said if Sanders is the nominee, President Donald Trump would put that label “on every Democratic running” nationwide.

Biden praised Buttigieg as a “patriot” but also took a dig at the 38-year-old former South Bend, Indiana, as a “the mayor of a small town.” Biden also suggested that Buttigieg will have trouble building a racially diverse coalition as the nominating contest moves beyond the overwhelming white states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden noted that Sanders won the New Hampshire primary handily in 2016 over Hillary Clinton, so he said he'll “probably take a hit” in the state next Tuesday.

___

8 p.m.

A debate featuring seven Democratic presidential candidates has started in New Hampshire amid a growing urgency among a shrinking field shaken and reshaped by this week's chaotic Iowa caucuses.

Friday night's debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester comes just four days before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

Monday's chaotic Iowa caucuses raised deeper questions about several candidates’ political survival. Two candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, enter Friday's debate as the top targets, having emerged from Iowa essentially tied for the lead.

Those trailing after the first contest — including former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — also have an urgent need to demonstrate strength.

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer and New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang are fighting to prove they belong in the conversation. The next set of caucuses is in Nevada on Feb. 22.

___

11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is tweeting reassurances to Iowa and New Hampshire that the two states will be first in the presidential primary schedule “as long as I am President." He called it a “Great tradition!”

The Iowa Democratic Party has spent the week trying to verify results from Monday's caucuses, adding fuel to complaints that the earliest voting states should be more representative of the U.S. demographically.

Trump's tweet on Friday will appeal to many voters in the two states leading up to the general election because they want to preserve their states’ special role in the presidential race.

“I agree — thank you, Mr. President!," tweeted New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican.

The head of New Hampshire's Democratic Party, Ray Buckley, wouldn't say Friday if he has confidence in Tom Perez's leadership at the Democratic National Committee.

Perez has called for a recanvass of the Iowa caucuses and sought to shift blame onto the Iowa Democratic Party.

New Hampshire's primary is next Tuesday.

___

9:30 a.m.

Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer is spending some time with supporters in New Hampshire before preparing for the final debate ahead of next week's first-in-the-nation primary.

Steyer campaign spokesman Alberto Lammers says Steyer planned to have breakfast with supporters in Manchester on Friday morning before media interviews in the afternoon.

Lammers says Steyer will do some final debate prep before getting in a workout and heading to the debate venue.

Seven of the Democrats vying for their party's presidential nomination meet Friday night for the debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. The stage features the same six candidates as the last debate — Steyer, former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — along with tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

___

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

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