2020 Democrats take veiled shots at Biden in Iowa

2020 Democrats take veiled shots at Biden in Iowa
© Greg Nash - UPI Photos

Several of the most prominent Democratic presidential hopefuls speaking at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame celebration on Sunday used the opportunity to take veiled shots at current front-runner Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' Trump says he'll wear mask during upcoming trip to Walter Reed Latino group 'Mi Familia Vota' launches M voter turnout campaign targeting swing states MORE, warning that a cautious platform could gift President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE the 2020 race.

“I understand that there are some well-intentioned Democrats and candidates who believe that the best way forward is a middle-ground strategy that antagonizes no one, that stands up to nobody, and that changes nothing,” Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' Ex-Sanders campaign manager talks unity efforts with Biden backers The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention MORE (I-Vt.), who placed second behind the former vice president in a poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers released Saturday, told the gathered crowd.

“In my view, that approach is not just bad public policy, but it is a failed political strategy that I feel could end up with the reelection of Donald Trump,” Sanders added.

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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Progressive activist Ady Barkan endorses Biden, urges him to pick Warren as VP Congress must act now to fix a Social Security COVID-19 glitch and expand, not cut, benefits MORE (D-Mass.), who was statistically tied with Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden strikes populist tone in blistering rebuke of Trump, Wall Street Buttigieg's new book, 'Trust,' slated for October release Biden hires top aides for Pennsylvania MORE (D) in the same poll, referenced Biden's strategy of targeting wealthy donors.

“I’m not spending my time with high-dollar donors and with corporate lobbyists,” said Warren, according to The Washington Post. “I’m spending my time with you. That’s how we build a grass-roots movement in America.” 

Buttigieg, meanwhile, warned of consequences of "playing it safe" during his speech at the event.

“We’re not going to win by playing it safe or promising to return to normal,” he reportedly said.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter The Hill's Morning Report - Officials crack down as COVID-19 cases soar MORE (D-N.Y.) made a thinly veiled reference to Biden's recent flip-flopping on the Hyde Amendment, a provision which bans federal funds from going toward abortions except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.

“I don’t think there is room in our party for a Democratic candidate who does not support women’s full reproductive freedom,” she said, per the Post.

Biden's campaign sparked controversy on Wednesday after reaffirming his decades-long support for the Hyde Amendment. Many members of his party, including Gillibrand, Warren and Sanders, criticized him for maintaining that stance.

But then Biden reversed on the issue a day later during a Democratic National Committee gala in Atlanta, saying he no longer supported the amendment. The episode was illustrative of the challenges he faces in appealing to moderates while also pleasing the progressive wing of his party

Entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangBiden campaign to take over 'Supernatural' star's Instagram for interview Hillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night MORE was the only candidate to call out Biden by name, quipping that the former Delaware senator "must really not like to travel," according to the Post.

The former vice president has generally adopted more moderate views than those of the other top contenders in the Democratic primary field, arguing for a return to pre-2016 normalcy.

He has held a significant lead in most national and state polls since officially entering the presidential race in April.

Saturday's Iowa poll showed signs that his lead may be taking a hit.

Conducted by veteran pollster Ann Selzer for the Des Moines Register and CNN, the poll of the first-in-the-nation caucus state found Biden leading the Democratic field with 24 percent of the vote.

However, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg were not far behind, all polling between 14 and 16 percent.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCensus workers prepare to go door-knocking in pandemic Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate Tammy Duckworth hits back at Tucker Carlson: 'Walk a mile in my legs' MORE (D-Calif.) was the only other candidate to clear 2 percent support, at 7 percent.

On Sunday, Harris highlighted her experience as California's Attorney General, promising to "make the case for America and to prosecute the case against Donald Trump," according to the Register.