South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Airlines suspend US flights in response to 5G deployment AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G rollout near certain airports MORE, a Democratic presidential hopeful, is walking back previous comments he made saying the Democratic primary could turn into a two-way race between him and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple MORE (D-Mass.) after facing criticism from other contenders in the race.
"I don’t remember the exact context," Buttigieg told reporters in Iowa on Saturday, referring to comments he originally made on Showtime's "The Circus" indicating that he saw the large Democratic field shrinking to a “two-way” race between himself and the Massachusetts senator.
The mayor on Saturday added that he did not think the comments came out right before emphasizing the strength of the other contenders in the race.
"Look, the bottom line is this is a really strong competition among really strong campaigns," he said.
Buttigieg on Monday was asked again about his two-way race comments in an appearance on CNN, answering that he was "not going to comment on the other campaigns."
The mayor faced pushback for the comments over the weekend, notably from Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple MORE (D-Calif.), who called the remarks "naive."
"Well, I think ... that it’s naive for him to think that at this point, that the fate of this election has been determined," she said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "Just look at history. You might need to review to know that what’s happening right now is not necessarily determinative of the outcome."
Buttigieg has risen in recent Iowa polls, polling in the top four with Warren, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNew York woman arrested after allegedly spitting on Jewish children Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFilibuster becomes new litmus test for Democrats Gallego says he's been approached about challenging Sinema Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (I-Vt.).
In addition to gaining traction in polls, Buttigieg has also exchanged jabs with Warren.
Buttigieg knocked Warren's "Medicare for All" plan as a "my way or the highway" approach on Sunday.
“What is just not true is that hers is the only solution. This 'my way or the highway' idea. That either you’re for kicking everybody off their private plans in four years or you’re for business as usual, it’s just not true,” Buttigieg said on ABC’s “This Week.”