Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a heated clash during Thursday night’s Democratic debate over their experience and who would accomplish more in the Oval Office, CBS News reported.
Klobuchar, who is seeking to take some of Buttigieg’s support in Iowa ahead of the state’s caucuses in February, responded to a question about immigration by hitting Buttigieg for comments he made during the previous primary debate. In those comments, Buttigieg sought to play up his status as a Washington outsider and struck at what he said was inadequate action on key issues by those in Washington, D.C.
“When we were in the last debate, mayor, you basically mocked the 100 years of experience on the stage,” Klobuchar said, citing her accomplishments, as well as some by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“So while you can dismiss committee hearings, I think this experience works. And I have not denigrated your experience as a local official, I have been one, I just think you should respect our experience when you look at how you evaluate someone who can get things done,” said Klobuchar, according to CNN.
Buttigieg responded to Klobuchar by referencing a comment she made earlier in the evening, saying she did dismiss his service as mayor of the Indiana town with a population of a little more than 102,000.
“You actually did denigrate my experience, senator, and it was before the break and I was going to let it go because we have bigger fish to fry here,” said Buttigieg.
“I don’t think we have bigger fish to fry than picking a president of the United States,” Klobuchar shot back.
The contentious back-and-forth continued for several minutes, with Buttigieg referring to his military service in Afghanistan and his mayoral reelection with 80 percent of the vote. Klobuchar added by saying voters should take into account candidates with long track records and long “coattails” to help strengthen down-ballot candidates.
Buttigieg, 37, would be the youngest person ever elected president and has been the mayor of South Bend since 2012. Klobuchar, 59, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and again in 2018.
Klobuchar has cast herself as a tell-it-like-it-is Midwesterner, while Buttigieg, who is also from the Midwest, has been carving out a path among the center-left path during the primary season.
Earlier this week, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he doesn’t think “any of them have the experience” to be president, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.
In recent national polling, Buttigieg is in fourth place behind Biden, Sanders, and Warren at 8.3 percent, according to averages compiled by RealClearPolitics. Buttigieg currently leads in Iowa, followed by Sanders, Biden, Warren, and Klobuchar in a distant fifth place.
Buttigieg’s strong polling in early states has led to clashes with other candidates. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Warren has railed against the Indiana Democrat for what she says is insufficient transparency over his campaign’s finances.