Buttigieg Gets Hammered, Falters At Dem Debate Amid Post-Iowa Surge
The Democratic Party’s top presidential nomination contenders have now engaged in their eleventh debate but, for the most part, kept the gloves on and did not go for the jugular. But of the few shots that were taken the toughest came against surging Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg VS Biden
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar took one of the biggest punches of the night against the former South Bend, Indiana mayor for his lack of experience. It was expected that the 38-year-old would be targeted after his strong finish in the error-ridden Iowa Caucus that placed him at the top with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Buttigieg responded to former Vice President Joe Biden who bragged about the achievements he had in the senate and as vice president. The young candidate said those achievements were important for their time but the American voters want a new face for new challenges.
“The next president is going to face challenges from global health security, like what we’re seeing coming out of China, to cybersecurity and election security challenges that were barely thought of a few years ago. And here at home, we’re seeing things like gig work transform what it means to be a worker in America in ways that were barely conceived of that long ago,” he said.
“We cannot solve the problems before us by looking back. We have to be ready to turn the page and change our politics before it’s too late. And I’m seeing everywhere I go not just fellow Democrats, but a striking number of independents and what I like to call future former Republicans, ready to join in that historic American majority to turn the page,” he said.
Klobuchar VS Buttigieg
The Minnesota senator took the opportunity to strike back at Buttigieg. She highlighted the fact that he called the impeachment hearings “boring” and said he would have rather been watching cartoons.
“I am listening to this about meeting the moment, and my first thought is, I’m a fresh face up here for a presidential debate. And I figure, Pete, that 59 — my age — is the new 38 up here.
“The second thing I think about is this: And that is meeting the moment. We had a moment the last few weeks, Mayor, and that moment was these impeachment hearings. And there was a lot of courage that you saw from only a few people.
“There was courage from Doug Jones, our friend from Alabama, who took that tough vote. There was courage from Mitt Romney, who took a very, very difficult vote. There was courage, as I read today, about Lt. Col. Vindman being escorted out of the White House. What he did took courage.
“But what you said, Pete, as you were campaigning through Iowa, as three of us were jurors in that impeachment hearing — you said it was exhausting to watch and that you wanted to turn the channel and watch cartoons.
“It is easy to go after Washington because that’s a popular thing to do. It is much harder — as I see Senator Shaheen, in the front row, such a leader — it is much harder to lead, and much harder to take those difficult positions. Because I think this going after every single thing that people do, because it’s popular to say and makes you look like a cool newcomer — I just, I don’t think that’s what people want right now.
“We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us. I think having some experience is a good thing,” she said.
Another Attack On Buttigieg
Buttigieg is now facing the reality of being at the top of the pack in the Democrat primary. And with that honor comes criticism of both one’s positions and decisions.
Aside from taking on those who shared the stage with him on Friday he also faced a tough question from one of the moderators on the disproportionate number of arrests of African-Americans in his city on drug charges.
“I want to turn now to criminal justice,” ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis said. “Mayor Buttigieg, under your leadership as mayor, a black resident in South Bend, Indiana was four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white resident .
Pete Buttigieg is a lying MFer.
Watch Lindsay Davis redirect him to the original question he tried to sidestep with his patented Rhodes Scholar Word Salad and then when he lies she broke him all the way down. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/vP5FCGZnno
— ⚖️ MilkChocolateMAK for the People (@NovusDivus) February 8, 2020
“Now, that racial disparity is higher than the rest of the state, in fact, that’s higher than the rest of the nation. And that disparity increased in South Bend after you took office. When talking about the problem in national terms, you’ve called it ‘evidence of systemic racism.’
“But you were mayor for eight years, so weren’t you, in effect, the head of the system. and how do you explain that increase in black arrests under your leadership?” she said.
The mayor tried to deflect from the question at first. “The reality is, on my watch, drug arrest in South Bend were lower than the national average and, specifically to marijuana, lower than in Indiana,” he said. “There is no question that systemic racism has penetrated to every level of our system and my city was not immune. I took a lot of heat for discussing systemic racism with my own police department.”
But Davies was not about to fall for the two-step the former mayor was doing and she pressed on. “How do you explain the increase in black arrests in South Bend under your leadership for marijuana possession?”
“And again, the overall rate was lower…” he said before Davis cut him off.
“No, there was an increase,” she said. “The year before you were in office it was lower. Once you became in office, in 2012, that number went up. In 2018, the last number, year we have record for, that number was still up.”
“And one of the strategies that our community adopted, was to target when there were cases was there was gun violence and gang violence, which was slaughtering so many in our community, burying teenagers, disproportionately black teenagers,” Buttigieg responded. “We adopted a strategy that said that drug enforcement would be targeted in cases where there was a connection to the most violent group or gang connected to a murder.”
“These things are all connected. But that’s the point, so are all the things that need to change in order for us to prevent violence and remove the effects of systemic racism, not just from criminal justice, but from our economy, from health, from housing, and our democracy itself,” he said.
He never really answered the question and Davis asked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren if his response was good enough, to which she responded simply, “No.”
If Buttigieg wants to win the primary, he will need to be prepared to face tougher and tougher questions as the race continues. If he cannot answer for his record, he is going to have a difficult time.