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Buttigieg, Warren square off on wealth, bundlers

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden to tap Rohit Chopra to lead CFPB, Gensler for SEC chair: reports Biden tax-hike proposals face bumpy road ahead Porter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector MORE (Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegOn The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits Buttigieg confirmation hearing slated for Thursday James Murdoch predicts 'a reckoning' for media after Capitol riot MORE went head-to-head on Thursday over wealth and high-dollar fundraising in the sharpest clash of the debate thus far.

In an escalation of their simmering feud, Warren took aim at Buttigieg for holding a fundraiser in a wine cave in Napa, pointing out that although Buttigieg pledged to have open fundraisers, this one was closed. In fact, the fundraiser in question was open to the press.

"We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States," Warren said. "Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States." 

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Buttigieg defended his campaign's fundraisers, saying his campaign needs support from everybody looking to defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE in 2020. 

"You know, according to Forbes Magazine, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire," Buttigieg responded. "This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass. If I pledged to never be in the company of a progressive, Democratic donor, I couldn't be up here." 

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"Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine," Buttigieg continued, adding that it would not be wrong if someone donated the maximum legal amount of money to his campaign. 

"Would that pollute my campaign because it came from a wealthy person? No, I would be glad to have that support. We need the support from everybody who is committed to defeating Donald Trump," he said. 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGoogle completes Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: Fringe social networks boosted after Capitol attack | Planned protests spark fears of violence in Trump's final days | Election security efforts likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress US Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots MORE (D-Minn.) jumped into the fray, saying she did not come to the debate to listen to Warren and Buttigieg spar. 

"I've never even been to a wine cave. I've been to the wind cave in South Dakota, which I suggest you visit," she said. 

 --Updated at 1:17 a.m. EST.