NBC News provided up-to-the-minute coverage of the sixth Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
The debate, hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico, featured the most intimate group of candidates to date. Just seven of the leading candidates took the stage, including frontrunners former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as well as lower-tier candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.
Buttigieg has consistently taken heat for having closed-door fundraisers with big dollar donors — including in tonight's debate.
The Associated Press reported last week that Buttigieg dined privately with donors on Sunday at a winery owned by a billionaire couple.
The Hall Rutherford wine caves is in California's Napa Valley and has a chandelier with “1,500 Swarovski crystals, an onyx banquet table to reflect its luminescence and bottles of cabernet sauvignon that sell for as much as $900,” the AP reported.
The AP said the event was not listed on Buttigieg’s public schedule and reported that the mayor has raised more than $50 million so far this race.
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Jane C. Timm
70d ago / 2:52 AM UTC
Fact check: Did Warren’s campaign benefit from big-ticket fundraisers?
When Sen. Elizabeth Warren attacked Democrats who rake in top dollars in pricey fundraisers, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed that her campaign wasn’t as pure as she claimed.
“Senator, your presidential campaign right now, as we speak, is funded in part by money you transferred, having raised it at those same big ticket fundraisers you now denounce,” Buttigieg said.
He’s right. Warren transferred more than $10 million from her Senate campaign coffers to underwrite her presidential bid, giving her a healthy leg up on fundraising when she became a presidential contender. Warren did fundraising dinners right up until she easily won her 2018 Senate re-election bid.
Warren and Buttigieg clash over campaign donations
In one of the standout moments of the night, Warren hit Buttigieg directly about how he is financing his campaign, specifically knocking him for hosting close-door fundraisers — particularly one that took place in California in a wine cave.
She noted that she ran grassroots campaign and talks to ordinary voters, and that meeting with big-ticket donors makes a candidate out of touch with ordinary issues.
Buttigieg hit back, saying it’s important to raise money to beat Trump and such party “purity tests” diminish the importance of the election. He also took a jab at Warren’s net worth, saying it’s several times more than his.
Klobuchar then jumped in, saying she did not come to the debate to hear that argument, and pivoted to how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has killed several bills that the Democratic-controlled House passed.
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70d ago / 2:29 AM UTC
Klobuchar leading all candidates in talking time, Yang and Steyer talking the least
Still, his refusal to say that he’d commit to serving two terms is a surprising admission. Politics watchers have pointed out that the fueling of questions over a one-term presidency — especially by Biden himself — could very easily make Biden a lame-duck president if he were elected.
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70d ago / 2:25 AM UTC
Warren turns an age question
Alberta: “Senator Warren, you would be the oldest person ever inaugurated...”
Warren: “I would also be the youngest *woman* ever inaugurated.”