Elizabeth Warren Seemed Stunned After Attack by Pete Buttigieg During Debate

When the senator went after the mayor for big-ticket fundraisers — he wasn't having any of her nonsense

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The knives came out during the sixth Democratic primary debate on Thursday night — this one held in Los Angeles — as Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, came under fire from the very candidate from whom he’s been stealing votes in Iowa, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The subject was fundraisers.

Warren hit him with a cliché binge over his alleged “closed-door,” “wine-cave” fundraisers filled with “rich people in smoke-filled rooms.”

Buttigieg struck back with a vengeance.

He tossed off that he was the only candidate on stage on Thursday night who was “not a millionaire or billionaire” — including Warren in that group.

And he castigated Warren for “purity tests we can’t pass” after he revealed that up until very recently, she had been raising money from the very people she said he’s now taking campaign donations from.

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Buttigieg clearly won the exchange — and left Warren sucking air in yet another futile effort at portraying herself as an “everyday working American,” not as an extremist, left-wing Ivy League law professor who got her job through race hustling. (Remember her awkward beer-drinking episode on video?)

When they took a moment’s breath, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) tried to horn in with odd, alphabetically defined talking points.

Although the audience gave her some shout-outs, Klobuchar made her nervous-seeming comments in a grating pitch and annoying manner.

Warren, for her part, tried to re-engage and almost accused Buttigieg of corruption by saying she didn’t “sell access to my time” in response to his defense.

But it was too little, too late.

She was a spent force by then, arms wildly flailing under the klieg lights, physically showcasing her sad attempt to grasp at any little thing to get her out of the argument.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), from whom Buttigieg is also taking support in Iowa, tried to get a shot in at Buttigieg.

But he chimed in after the debate on the point was over, essentially.

These exchanges took up just several minutes in the larger debate, but they were indicative of the tension between Warren and Buttigieg. And it won’t be the last testy exchange in the primary season between them, as she tries to claw back voters who have switched to the young mayor in Iowa and elsewhere.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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