Nearly all top-tier Democratic Party contenders took to national television on Feb. 9 to make their cases on the talk-show circuit just days before this weeks first-in-the-nation presidential primary in New Hampshire.
In the lead-up to the primary, recent polls also indicate that former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are the two front-runners in the state. The pair also finished atop last weeks Iowa caucus results, which the chairman of that states Democratic Party recently said would be independently reviewed because of technological and reporting issues.
Former Vice President Joe Biden took the opportunity to defend his results in the Iowa caucuses—in which he finished fourth with 15.8 percent of the vote—telling ABCs George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that he still has an advantage. Stephanopoulos responded that “no one [who] has come in below second in Iowa and New Hampshire has ever won the nomination.”
“No one has ever won the nomination without being able to get overwhelming support from the African American community either,” Biden responded. “So far, no ones doing that but me.”
Days ago, the final Democratic presidential debate before the primary was held, which featured a total of seven candidates who met the thresholds for donor and polling support. It included Buttigieg, Sanders, Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former tech executive Andrew Yang; billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
Buttigieg, meanwhile, used his talk-show appearances to respond to an attack ad recently released by Biden and to push back against widespread criticism he received for comments he made during the Feb. 7 debate on racial disparities in arrests for marijuana possession. In the ad, Biden contrasted his track record with Buttigiegs experience as a mayor, while also stating that Buttigieg was “not a Barack Obama.”
“Well, hes right, Im not, and neither is he. Neither is any of us,” Buttigieg told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. The mayor added that “this isnt 2008, this is 2020.”
On the topic of marijuana, Buttigieg told Wallace that the “disparity is real, its a problem, and thats part of the reason Im proposing that we legalize marijuana outright and when we do, we have a process of expungement and looking back to the harm that drug policy has caused.”
“We need reform,” he said. “No one mayor is going to be able to resolve it. This is a national process.”
Sanders, also in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” responded to President Donald Trumps comments that the senator is a communist. Sanders is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
“Obviously, I am not a communist,” Sanders told Wallace.
When asked about the cost of some of his proposals, the senator said that its worth it in the long run. One of them was “Medicare for All,” a policy proposal that would transition the nations health insurance industry to a single-payer system in which the government is the sole insurance provider. The policy is being promoted by the DSA.
“If we leave the [health care] status quo alone, in the next 10 years, were going to be spending $50 trillion,” Sanders said. “Medicare for All will cost the average American less than the $12,000 a year they are paying the insurance companies.”
Biden referred to Buttigieg in his interview as well, telling ABC, “Im saying he hasnt been able to unify the black community.”
Meanwhile, Warren pushed back on her third-place finish in Iowa, during an appearance on ABCs “This Week.” Warren received 18 percent of the total vote.
“The way I see this is its going to be a long campaign,” she said, adding that she is building a campaign meant to “go the distance.”
“When I made the decision not to spend 70 percent of my time raising money from billionaires and corporate executive and lobbyists, it meant I had a lot more time to go around the country.
“Ive been to 31 states to do town halls, red states and blue states. We have about 1,000 people on the ground. We built a campaign to go the distance and thats what I think is going to happen.”