SXSW festival draws 2020 Dems to Texas

SXSW festival draws 2020 Dems to Texas
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Democrats running for president in 2020 flocked this weekend to Texas for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin.

The historically tech-focused gathering has transformed into a more political event in recent years, emerging this year as a necessary stop for many presidential contenders fighting in a crowded primary field ahead of Texas’ early primary.

While some candidates such as Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. House passes historic legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (D-Calif.) are campaigning in other crucial primary states, this year's SXSW boasts appearances from a number of Democratic presidential hopefuls including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives MORE (Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. The Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina Lawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing MORE (Minn.), former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

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Warren, who has emerged as a vocal opponent of digital giants’ power, used her appearance Saturday to reiterate her criticism of companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, pushing the tech giants to break apart.

“You can’t be an umpire and own one of the teams that plays in the game,” she said. “My view is break those things apart, and we will have a much more competitive, robust market in America.”

“The monopolists will make fewer monopoly profits. Boo hoo.”

Klobuchar, who has been dogged by allegations by former staffers of mistreatment, addressed a report from last month that alleged she once ate a salad with her comb and ordered an aide to clean it after the staffer did not get her a fork.

“It was me sort of doing a mom thing, I didn't have a fork so I used a comb to eat salad on a plane,” she said.

The Minnesota Democrat, who is casting herself as a centrist in a field currently dominated by progressives, said the competition fostered by a crowded primary field could help the party.

“There are a number of great candidates…and I always like to jokingly say, ‘may the best woman win.’ But, no litmus test, many of them would be good, but I think that competition is good,” she said, referring to the other candidates.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who is mulling a presidential bid, made a surprise appearance Saturday at the festival for the premier of a documentary detailing his insurgent Senate bid last year to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSteyer calls for Senate term limits to pass gun control legislation Cruz targets California governor over housing 'prescriptions' This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (R-Texas).

While O'Rourke lost by under 3 points in November, the enthusiasm around his campaign propelled him to rockstar status within the Democratic Party and fueled calls for him to weigh a shot for the White House. 

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttegieg is among other Democratic hopefuls  slated to appear at the festival Saturday. Castro, Hickenlooper and Inslee are all slated to appear Sunday.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is weighing an independent presidential bid, as well as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who has remained vocal in GOP politics as a critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE, appeared at the festival Saturday.