Progressives fume at Buttigieg, warn him not to attack Warren at debate
August 29, 2020
Progressives are warning South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE not to attack Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Ohio.
Buttigieg, who has emerged as a center-left contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, has drawn the ire of progressives in recent days for remarks viewed as swipes against more liberal contenders like Warren and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).
“It’s sad to see the potential self destruction of @PeteButtigieg, a rising star,” tweeted Adam Green, a cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which backs Warren. “Tuesday will be a key trajectory moment. Does he attack the next President of The United States or take the high road and make positive waves by adding his unique voice to progressive issues of the day?”
The warning comes as Buttigieg has been rising in Iowa polls, positioning him to become a potential top-tier challenger to Warren and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE.
A Firehouse-Optimus poll released Monday found Warren at 25 percent support in Iowa, followed by Biden at 23 percent and Buttigieg at 17 percent. In the past month, Buttigieg’s support in the state has jumped nearly 5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average, putting him in contention with Warren, Biden and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.).
Progressives on Monday seized on remarks Buttigieg made to Snapchat’s Peter Hamby, in which he was asked about Warren’s pledge to refuse money from high-dollar donors. Warren raised $24.6 million in the third quarter, compared to $19.1 million for Buttigieg.
“My competitors can go with whatever strategy they like, but we’re going to make sure that we have the resources to compete because we are going up against the sitting president of the United States,” Buttigieg said.
“He has tremendous amounts of support and allies at his back, and we’re not going to beat him with pocket change. I’m proud of the fact that we have more than half a million individuals who’ve supported my campaign. Some of it’s chipping in three bucks; some of it’s a lot more. I think you need the full spectrum of support in order to compete, especially if we want to go against someone like Donald Trump.”
Buttigieg’s allies say he was not taking a swipe at Warren, but rather was making the argument that the Democratic nominee will feel an urgency to compete on the money front against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE and the Republican National Committee, who combined to raise $125 million in the third quarter.
But some liberals viewed Buttigieg’s remarks as disparaging toward Warren and small-dollar donors.
“This is legit insulting to the millions of folks who are participating in the process and giving what they can. And — it should be noted — small-dollar donors powered the two candidates who out raised Pete last quarter,” tweeted progressive strategist Rebecca Katz.
Meanwhile, some progressives are lashing out at Buttigieg after he clashed with O’Rourke, who has advocated for a mandatory gun buyback program.
Buttigieg called such proposals a “shiny object” that will distract Washington from achieving more realistic gun safety reforms.
“As a policy, it’s had mixed results,” Buttigieg said. “It’s a healthy debate to have, but we’ve got to do something now.”
Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.), who will also be on stage for Tuesday’s debate, accused Buttigeig of “doing the NRA’s work for them.”
Buttigieg has also sought to draw distinctions between himself and Warren on health care, releasing a “Medicare for those who want it” plan to contrast with the “Medicare for All” plan backed by Warren and Sanders.