MANCHESTER, NH – Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg came under attack at Friday night’s Democratic presidential nomination debate by two of his top-tier rivals over his acceptance of campaign donations from billionaires and his reliance on super PACs to help support his White House bid.
“I don’t think anyone should be able to buy their way into a nomination or to be president of the United States, she emphasized, before adding that, “I don’t think people who suck up to billionaires in order to fund their campaigns ought to do it.”
It was crystal clear she was training her fire on Buttigieg
The progressive senator from Massachusetts then added that “everyone on this stage is either a billionaire or is receiving help from PACs that can do unlimited spending. So if you really want to live where you say, then put your money where your mouth is and say no to the PACs.”
While Buttigieg’s waved off support from any super PACs formed specifically to back his campaign, he’s benefited from the efforts of Vote Vets, a pro-Democratic outside group that’s spent over $1 million in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire to run ads supporting the Afghanistan War veteran.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont,a fellow progressive standard bearer who like Warren has sworn off PACs and big donor contributions, also took aim at Buttigieg – and had no problem singling him out by name.
“Unlike some of the folks up here, I don’t have 40 billionaires, Pete, contributing to my campaign, coming from the pharmaceutical campaign, Wall Street and all the big money interests,” Sanders said.
“If we want to change America, you’re not going to do it by electing candidates who are going out to rich people’s homes begging for money,” Sanders stressed.
Buttigieg – responding to the criticism – fired back that “we are going into the fight of our lives. Donald Trump – according to news reports – and his allies raised $25 million today. We need to go into that fight with everything that we’ve got. Now I’ve been very clear on my record – where I sued pharmaceutical companies – and what I’ve campaigned for – which includes raising rages and raising taxes on the corporations and the wealthy.”
Buttigieg’s star has risen this week, after tying Sanders in Iowa’s caucuses. And he’s closing in on Sanders in the latest polls in New Hampshire, ahead of Tuesday’s primary.