Democrats ramp up attacks on opponents in final pitch before New Hampshire

Democrats ramp up attacks on opponents in final pitch before New Hampshire
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Democratic presidential candidates ramped up attacks on their top rivals on Sunday as they make their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. 

Fresh off their success in Iowa, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform Sanders: Progressives will work to 'rally the American people' if Biden wins MORE (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Buttigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 MORE, who both claimed victories in the first-in-the-nation caucuses, took swipes at each other over their campaign financing strategies. 

Sanders, who is running a grassroots campaign, took at shot at Buttigieg over the mayor accepting donations from billionaires. 

“We’re going to contrast our view with Mayor Buttigieg’s,” Sanders said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” about his campaign’s plan to emphasize Buttigieg’s billionaire donor support. 

Sanders has already begun to make the argument on the campaign trail, telling supporters in New Hampshire that Buttigieg is the favorite candidate for Wall Street donors. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform Biden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver MORE (D-Mass.), who placed third in Iowa, similarly continued her pitch for her grassroots funded campaign. She pushed back on Buttigieg’s argument that it's important to build the biggest coalition, even if that means accepting billionaire money. 

“The coalition of billionaires is not exactly what’s going to carry us over the top,” Warren said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

Rather than calling out Buttigieg by name, like Sanders has, Warren focused her attack on former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEverytown hits GOP on gun safety in closing .5M battleground ad barrage A closing argument: Why voters cannot trust Trump on healthcare Biden campaign swamps Trump on TV airwaves MORE

“Democrats and Republicans get that they’re getting the short end of the stick, and what’s the reason for that? It’s corruption,” she said.  “It’s a bunch billionaires that make big campaign contributions or reach in their own pockets like Michael Bloomberg does.”

Bloomberg is skipping New Hampshire, along with the other first four states, focusing instead on the delegate-rich states that vote on Super Tuesday. The billionaire is self-funding his campaign and not accepting donations. 

Buttigieg continued to defend his campaign’s financing, despite the attacks from candidates to his left. 

“Bernie’s pretty rich, and I would happily accept a contribution from him,” Buttigieg said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

He added that Democrats need to make sure “we bring everybody into this fight,” to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE and his allies in November. 

Buttigieg also pushed back on an attack from former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE

A Biden ad released Saturday hit Buttigieg over his inexperience, juxtaposing his record as mayor with the former vice president’s work in the Obama administration. 

"So many communities look like mine in South Bend. We know we might look small from the perspective of Washington, but to us what's going on in Washington looks so small or small-minded," Buttigieg said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" in response to the Biden ad. 

"And communities, whether they’re my size, or rural communities, or even neighborhoods in our biggest cities that feel completely left behind, are frustrated with being made into a punchline by Washington politicians." 

Buttigieg has made the argument that the party needs an unconventional, outsider perspective, which he claims to possess, in order to take on Trump in November. He’s noted that the party performs best when it nominates a candidate who has had fewer years in Washington politics, including referencing former President Obama. 

Biden, who has been hitting hard on contrasting his and Buttigieg's backgrounds, told reporters Saturday that Buttigieg is “not Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama says he voted by mail: 'It's not as tough as a lot of folks think' Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis MSNBC host cuts off interview with Trump campaign spokesman after clash on alleged voter fraud MORE.” 

"So what has he done?" Biden asked on "This Week." "Who has he pulled together? Does he know any of the foreign leaders? I mean, Barack Obama was a different story."

Buttigieg responded on several Sunday Shows, saying that Biden is right. 

“I’m not, and neither is he, neither is any of us,” Buttigieg said on “Fox News Sunday.” “This isn’t 2008, this is 2020.”

Biden also attacked Sanders over the senator’s self-identified title as a Democratic Socialist. He said Sanders at the top of the ticket would cause a “bigger uphill climb” for down ballot candidates in moderate districts. 

“You're going to help somebody in Florida with the label Democratic Socialist? It's going to go all the way down the line. That's what's going to happen. You're going to win in North Carolina? You're going to win in Pennsylvania? You're going to win in those states in the midwest?” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Sanders pushed back on that argument on Sunday, telling CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperNY Times slammed for glowing Farrakhan op-ed: 'You would think he was a gentleman' Democrats condemn Trump's rhetoric against Michigan governor as allies defend rally Illinois governor blames Trump's allies for state's wrong direction on coronavirus MORE his his agenda “is precisely the agenda that the overwhelming majority of the American people want.” 

“Our agenda is the agenda of working-class and middle-class Americans,” he said, noting his position on raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare and climate change. 

The candidates' attacks come as they head into Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire. No candidate has ever won the party nomination without placing first or second in either New Hampshire or Iowa, placing additional pressure on Warren and Biden to move into the top two this week. 

Warren dismissed the need to win New Hampshire, telling ABC’s George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus Infectious disease expert calls White House advisers herd immunity claims 'pseudoscience' MORE she predicts “it’s going to be a long campaign.” 

Biden, who came in fourth in Iowa also defended his prospects, saying on ABC's "This Week" that "no one has ever won the nomination without being able to get overwhelming support from the African-American community either. So far, no one's doing that but me."

Sanders, who won New Hampshire in his 2016 bid, is leading the field at 28 percent, according to a CNN poll released Sunday conducted by the University of New Hampshire. 

Buttigieg pulled ahead of Biden into second place at 21 percent, based on the poll. Biden’s support dipped 4 points, placing him in third at 11 percent, based on the poll. Warren is in fourth at 9 percent, according to the poll of 384 likely Democratic primary voters. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.