It’s only natural for presidential candidates to disagree. There aren’t too many friendships budding between candidates at this point in the game since there can only be one winner for the Democratic National Committee nominee. However, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg have been going toe to toe for a while.
Warren has decided to be a bit more vocal about Buttigieg and his campaign than she has of some of her other running mates.
When the two political candidates were in Iowa, the tensions came bursting wide open. The two of them called each other out, over and over again, regarding past corporate clients, campaign issues, and tax returns. Open fundraisers were discussed openly as they tried to point the finger at the other.
It started in Boston and kept going. On Thursday, Warren criticized Buttigieg for not disclosing the names of those who are his top fundraisers. He also hasn’t opened the fundraisers to the media. Warren is showing that she’s becoming quite petty, demanding that the South Bend, Indiana mayor release who is raising the big money for him and who is on his finance committee.
Liz Smith, the senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg, fired back on Twitter, identifying Warren as a corporate lawyer and saying that she needs to open the doors to the tax returns of decades past that she has been hiding.
Warren hasn’t released any of her tax returns prior to 2008 when she had a number of corporate clients while teaching at Harvard Law School. While she disclosed client names earlier in the year, the tax returns are still missing because she has argued that the tax return she has released is more than sufficient.
The pettiness in the primaries has officially arrived, and it’s Warren leading the pack. Buttigieg is taking a center-left approach whereas Warren is so far left that a map is needed to get all the way over to where she is.
It’s easy to see why she wants to target Buttigieg – he’s closing in on her in the polls since he is young with new, fresh ideas. He’s also taking a more central approach than she is, which is appealing to many Democrats as they want to stay as far away from socialism as possible. Buttigieg is also rising in the polls for the Iowa caucus, which is alarming for Warren.
Buttigieg and Warren have a lot more in common than either of them realize, though there’s more competition than friendship. It’s unlikely that there would ever be a reality where the presidential ticket would ever read Warren/Buttigieg. Instead, both have staked their candidacies on the need to win Iowa, especially if they want to give Joe Biden a run for his money across the country.
Pete Buttigieg, in all fairness, made the first jabs at the Massachusetts Senator. He’s been doing it a bit on the debate stags as well as some of the paid ads across social media. However, she’s taken the high road by saying that she’s not “here to attack” the other Democratic candidates.
Warren’s team, obviously, has said enough is enough. They have encouraged her to go ahead and speak up, naming him so that there’s no confusion as to who she is targeting. At the DNC fundraiser on Thursday, she remarked that it’s easy to give up on an idea.
She also said that when you do it, you “try to make yourself sound smart.” This is in response to Buttigieg’s comments that all she does is fight without actually working on the problem.
As an Iowa-based Democratic consultant, Jeff Link, pointed out, the dynamic is in plain sight. Each of the candidates has acknowledged the other as a threat. As such, it was only a matter of time before the hostility between the two became visible to everyone else.
When Warren was called out about releasing older tax returns, she made a comment that it was to distract from other candidates who haven’t released names of their bundlers – a clear shot at Buttigieg.
Buttigieg has already identified that there is a nondisclosure agreement in place that prevents him from sharing certain names. He also points out that Warren’s answer is changing the subject instead of actually sharing the tax returns.
Many feel as though Buttigieg is providing a “more palatable message” to those in Iowa, explains Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa. While he has endorsed Warren personally, he also notes that the Warren campaign has to make adjustments when talking to voters about health care and how money may have led to corruption in politics. They’re nervous about her agenda.
Yeah, it’s easy to see how she can feel threatened by Buttigieg.