Progressives fume at Buttigieg, warn him not to attack Warren at debate

Progressives are warning South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegReuters poll finds Sanders cutting Biden national lead to single digits Biden says he'll adopt plans from Sanders, Warren Buttigieg guest-hosts for Jimmy Kimmel: 'I've got nothing else going on' MORE not to attack Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Biden faces pesky enthusiasm challenge despite big primary numbers MORE (D-Mass.) at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Ohio.

Buttigieg, who has emerged as a center-left contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, has drawn the ire of progressives in recent days for remarks viewed as swipes against more liberal contenders like Warren and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).

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“It’s sad to see the potential self destruction of @PeteButtigieg, a rising star,” tweeted Adam Green, a cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which backs Warren. “Tuesday will be a key trajectory moment. Does he attack the next President of The United States or take the high road and make positive waves by adding his unique voice to progressive issues of the day?”

The warning comes as Buttigieg has been rising in Iowa polls, positioning him to become a potential top-tier challenger to Warren and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll The Memo: Political world grapples with long coronavirus shutdown The Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina emerges as key battleground for Senate control MORE.

A Firehouse-Optimus poll released Monday found Warren at 25 percent support in Iowa, followed by Biden at 23 percent and Buttigieg at 17 percent. In the past month, Buttigieg’s support in the state has jumped nearly 5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average, putting him in contention with Warren, Biden and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Sanders still sees 'narrow path' to Democratic presidential nomination Tenants call on lawmakers to pass rent freezes MORE (I-Vt.).

Progressives on Monday seized on remarks Buttigieg made to Snapchat’s Peter Hamby, in which he was asked about Warren’s pledge to refuse money from high-dollar donors. Warren raised $24.6 million in the third quarter, compared to $19.1 million for Buttigieg.

"My competitors can go with whatever strategy they like, but we're going to make sure that we have the resources to compete because we are going up against the sitting president of the United States,” Buttigieg said.

“He has tremendous amounts of support and allies at his back, and we're not going to beat him with pocket change. I'm proud of the fact that we have more than half a million individuals who've supported my campaign. Some of it's chipping in three bucks; some of it's a lot more. I think you need the full spectrum of support in order to compete, especially if we want to go against someone like Donald Trump."

Buttigieg’s allies say he was not taking a swipe at Warren, but rather was making the argument that the Democratic nominee will feel an urgency to compete on the money front against President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE and the Republican National Committee, who combined to raise $125 million in the third quarter.

But some liberals viewed Buttigieg’s remarks as disparaging toward Warren and small-dollar donors.

"This is legit insulting to the millions of folks who are participating in the process and giving what they can. And -- it should be noted -- small-dollar donors powered the two candidates who out raised Pete last quarter,” tweeted progressive strategist Rebecca Katz.

Meanwhile, some progressives are lashing out at Buttigieg after he clashed with O’Rourke, who has advocated for a mandatory gun buyback program.

Buttigieg called such proposals a “shiny object” that will distract Washington from achieving more realistic gun safety reforms.

"As a policy, it's had mixed results," Buttigieg said. "It's a healthy debate to have, but we've got to do something now."

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Lawmakers, labor leaders ramp up calls to use Defense Production Act Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men MORE (D-N.J.), who will also be on stage for Tuesday’s debate, accused Buttigeig of “doing the NRA’s work for them.”

Buttigieg has also sought to draw distinctions between himself and Warren on health care, releasing a “Medicare for those who want it” plan to contrast with the “Medicare for All” plan backed by Warren and Sanders.