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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 BidenHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline Overnight Defense: Trump campaign's use of military helicopter raises ethics concerns | Air Force jets intercept aircraft over Trump rally | Senators introduce bill to expand visa screenings MORE, warning that a cautious platform could gift President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline 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 SandersOcasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' What a Biden administration should look like Ocasio-Cortez: 'Trump is the racist visionary, but McConnell gets the job done' 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 WarrenWhat a Biden administration should look like Overnight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls MORE (D-Mass.), who was statistically tied with Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhat a Biden administration should look like Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls LGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress 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 GillibrandOcasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' Internal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter's handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns | FCC to move forward with considering order targeting tech's liability shield | YouTube expands polices to tackle QAnon 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 YangPelosi spars with CNN's Blitzer over COVID-19 aid: 'You really don't know what you're talking about' The shape of guaranteed income Biden's latest small business outreach is just ... awful 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 HarrisTrump fights for battleground Arizona Biden to air 90-minute radio programs targeting Black voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's big battleground | Trump and Harris hit the trail in Arizona | Turnout surges among new voters 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.