Klobuchar, Buttigieg battle in fiery exchange

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Congress must fill the leadership void The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask MORE (D-Minn.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrat concedes in California House race MORE had a heated clash during Thursday night’s debate over experience, and who would get more done in Washington. 

Klobuchar, who is battling with Buttigieg for voters in Iowa ahead of the state's caucuses in February, responded to a question about immigration by hitting Buttigieg for comments he made at the last primary debate. 

In those remarks, Buttigieg, who has led recent polls in Iowa, touted his credentials as a Washington outsider and bashed what he said was inadequate action on key issues in Washington.

ADVERTISEMENT

“When we were in the last debate, mayor, you basically mocked the 100 years of experience on the stage,” Klobuchar said, citing accomplishments from herself as well as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' How will COVID-19 affect the Hispanic vote come November? MORE and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden Julián Castro to become senior advisor for Voto Latino MORE (I-Vt.). 

“So while you can dismiss committee hearings, I think this experience works. And I have not denigrated your experience as a local official, I have been one, I just think you should respect our experience when you look at how you evaluate someone who can get things done.”

Buttigieg responded by referencing a comment Klobuchar made earlier in the debate attacking him, saying she did ding his service as mayor of the Indiana town.

“You actually did denigrate my experience, senator, and it was before the break and I was going to let it go because we have bigger fish to fry here,” he said. 

“I don’t think we have bigger fish to fry than picking a president of the United States,” Klobuchar fired back.

The contentious back-and-forth continued for several minutes, with Buttigieg referencing his military service in Afghanistan and reelection in South Bend with 80 percent of the vote, and Klobuchar saying voters should take into account candidates with long track records and long “coattails" to help buoy down-ballot candidates. 

Polls have shown Buttigieg at or near the top of the pack in the Hawkeye State, while Klobuchar has banked on voters being attracted to her Midwest roots and ability to win in areas that supported President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE in 2018.

Buttigieg’s strong polling in Iowa and New Hampshire helped lead to clashes with other candidates including Warren, who has railed against the Indiana Democrat for what she says is insufficient transparency over his campaign’s finances.