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2020 Democratic hopefuls focus on Iowa while making final pitches

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Three Democratic presidential candidates took to the Sunday shows to make their final pitches the day before the Iowa caucuses, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, both of whom have made their potential appeal to moderates in the Midwest central to their candidacies.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in recent weeks has stepped up his pitch as a more electable alternative his opponents and on Sunday he wouldn’t say whether he thought Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or former Vice President Joe Biden were capable of defeating President Trump.

“Here’s my concern, if you look at the lessons of history over the last half century, every time that we have won, my party has won the White House it has been with a candidate who is new in national politics, who doesn’t work in Washington or at least hadn’t been there very long and it was opening the door to a new generation of leadership,” Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday.

NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday found Buttigieg, along with Sanders, Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) defeating Trump nationally in hypothetical head-to-head matchups. 

Asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos whether a finishing in the top 3 in Iowa was necessary for Buttigieg’s campaign to remain viable, he responded “we certainly need to have a strong finish here in Iowa.”

Buttigieg was also asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” about his low polling among African Americans, a key Democratic voting group both nationwide and particularly in the South Carolina primary.

Buttigieg defended his numbers as a consequence of being newer to national politics than most of his rivals.

“I recognize that I am newer on the scene and we’re at a time when no one is feeling the pain of living under this administration more than Americans of color,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons why there is such a focus on making sure that we are the campaign that can bring an end to that and that can turn the page. But the process of proving that begins right here in Iowa.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who has also touted her moderate, Midwestern bona fides but struggled to gain traction with African American voters, was questioned by Fox News’ Chris Wallace on an issue that has led the Minneapolis NAACP to call on her to end her campaign, her prosecution of then-16-year-old Myon Burrell.

“It was a tragic case, it was a big deal within the African-American community and our focus was on bringing the people to justice and doing justice for [Edward’s] family,” Klobuchar said.

“We know it was a bad case, the question is whether this young man did it,” Wallace responded.

Wallace asked if the case would tie into Klobuchar’s current weak numbers among African American voters, with Klobuchar responding by touting her support among African Americans in Minnesota and among the state’s Somali-American community, specifically.

Klobuchar also said a strong showing in Iowa would be vital to her campaign but said she would continue to New Hampshire regardless.

“I’ve been to New Hampshire 22 times … I think we have to do well [in Iowa] but I’m going to New Hampshire no matter what,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There’s a debate, I’m on the debate stage.”

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, meanwhile, told Stephanopoulos he believed the campaign would outperform his polling in Iowa, which the host noted had “been in a pretty consistent sixth place.”

“We think we’re going to surprise a lot of people on Monday night, George, and we’ve got a ton of support in New Hampshire,” Yang said. “I can’t wait to take this vision to the rest of the country.”

The other candidates in the Democratic field are similarly sprinting toward the finish line in Iowa, with Sanders, who has led in several recent polls of the state, drawing about 3,000 people Saturday night to a campaign rally featuring Vampire Weekend and Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.).

“We’re not only going to win here in Iowa, we’re not only going to win the Democratic nomination, but we are going to defeat this dangerous president,” Sanders said, according to NBC News.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), meanwhile, announced Saturday that her campaign has hit one million individual donors, and rallied in Indianola, Iowa, Sunday to a substantial crowd.

Biden, meanwhile, told NBC News that his focus was on the future regardless of  the Iowa result.

“Nothing happens here on Monday’s gonna end this campaign,” he said. “I mean, I’d rather have an outright win, don’t get me wrong.”

“I think I’ll do well in Nevada,” he said. “And I think I have a real firewall in South Carolina. And then we go into the Super Tuesday States that have a significant number of minorities and African Americans [where] I think I’m gonna do fine. So I don’t think that this is like it has been in the past, that if you haven’t won the first two, that you’re done.”

Tags Amy Klobuchar Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders Chris Wallace Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren George Stephanopoulos Ilhan Omar Iowa caucuses Jake Tapper Joe Biden Mark Pocan Pete Buttigieg Pramila Jayapal Sunday shows
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