Klobuchar attacks Bloomberg and Buttigieg as Democrat infighting grows

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Klobuchar attacks Bloomberg and Buttigieg as Democrat infighting grows* Polling shows voters generally satisfied with the candidates * Can Pete Buttigieg’s moderate message win over purple Iowa?Senator Amy Klobuchar campaigning in Iowa on 8 November. Photograph: Jack Kurtz/ZUMA Wire/REX/ShutterstockOn a weekend of sharp infighting among Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Amy Klobuchar hit out at Michael Bloomberg.“When people look at the White House and see this multi-millionaire messing up so many things,” the Minnesota senator told CNN’s State of the Union, “I don’t think they think, ‘Oh, we need someone richer.’ I think you have to earn votes, not buy them.”Klobuchar also criticised Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has surged in Iowa. The senator repeated her contention that a female candidate with Buttigieg’s experience would not have made the debate stage.Bloomberg, 77 and a three-term mayor of New York, has an estimated personal fortune of $51.1bn. Having long flirted with a run for the Democratic nomination, on Friday he registered to enter the Alabama primary.Responding to comments by a Bloomberg adviser that the former mayor thinks none of the current contenders will be able to beat Donald Trump, Klobuchar said: “I don’t think you can just waltz in and instead of saying, ‘I’m good enough to be president,’ your argument is that the other people aren’t good enough.“I’m looking forward to debating Mayor Bloomberg but not if his whole purpose is to say the rest of the field isn’t good enough.”A Bloomberg run is not a done deal.Advisers to the billionaire indicated earlier this week that he plans to win the nomination by skipping early voting states like New Hampshire and Iowa before making a massive ad spend in larger states.But polling of likely Democratic primary voters generally indicates satisfaction with the candidates who make up a historically large and diverse field. A Morning Consult poll conducted on 8 November found that just 4% of Democratic primary voters would make Bloomberg their choice.As Klobuchar spoke on Sunday, one news outlet reported that “sources close” to Bloomberg were already walking back the likelihood that he will enter the race, describing his move this week as a trial balloon.Axios reported that even Bloomberg’s own polling data pointed to “perhaps insurmountable hurdles”, especially if former vice-president Joe Biden stays in the race as the leading centrist candidate.On Saturday, news broke that Amazon owner Jeff Bezos had asked Bloomberg to enter. At a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders greeted the report with laughter.On Sunday, Klobuchar denied a reported rift between her campaign and that of Buttigieg. Confronted with a New York Times report which detailed supposed irritation with the 37-year-old’s success among older candidates who have held state or national office, Klobuchar said she believed Buttigieg was qualified to be president.But she added: “I’m the one from the midwest who has actually won a state-wide race over and over again. That is not true of Mayor Pete. We should be able to have those debates about candidates without being accused of being negative.”Klobuchar has qualified for the next two Democratic debates but remains way off the pace set by Warren, Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg. Referring to herself, Warren and Senator Kamala Harris of California, Klobuchar suggested a woman would not be on the debate stage if she held the same qualifications as Buttigieg.“Do I think that we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don’t. Maybe we’re held to a different standard.”Klobuchar also responded to feuding between the frontrunners over Warren’s “Medicare for All” plan, which would eliminate all private insurance. After Biden painted the Massachusetts senator as an out-of-touch elitist, Warren retorted that if the former vice-president was just going to repeat Republican talking points, he should run in a different primary .“I don’t think Elizabeth Warren is elitist,” Klobuchar said. “She’s pushing for a policy I don’t agree with that would kick 149 million Americans off their healthcare in four years.”