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 BidenJill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia Fill the Eastern District of Virginia Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted MORE, warning that a cautious platform could gift President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money 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 SandersSanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan Briahna Joy Gray: Proposals favored by Black voters 'first at the chopping block' in spending talks 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.
Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMisguided recusal rules lock valuable leaders out of the Pentagon Biden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Mass.), who was statistically tied with Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg hits back after parental leave criticism: 'Really strange' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations - US opens to vaccinated visitors as FDA panel discusses boosters Tucker Carlson mocks Buttigieg over paternity leave 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 GillibrandOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Biden signs bill to help victims of 'Havana syndrome' Lawmakers using leadership PACs as 'slush funds' to live lavish lifestyles: report 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 YangYang says he has left Democratic Party Yang says presidential bid 'messed with my head' Yang in new book: Trump might have won in 2020 'if not for the coronavirus' 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 HarrisDemocrats' reconciliation bill breaks Biden's middle class tax pledge We have a presidential leadership crisis — and it's only going to get worse Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' 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.