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Published: Friday, February 07, 2020 @ 5:04 PM
From Manchester, New Hampshire — Hours before the final debate in New Hampshire on Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took a very public swipe at Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg over campaign contributions from very wealthy Americans, sending a fairly clear message that Sanders seems to consider Buttigieg his main threat in next Tuesday's New Hampshire Primary.
"I like Pete Buttigieg, nice guy," Sanders said at a political breakfast organized by Saint Anselm College, and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, as the Vermont Senator turned his fire on Buttigieg without any prompting from his audience.
"Pete Buttigieg tops billionaire donor list," Sanders said, ticking off headlines of stories in Forbes, the Washington Post, and other publications, making the argument that Buttigieg is funded by Wall Street billionaires who don't really favor the needs of many Democratic voters.
"Pete Buttigieg takes lead as big business candidate in 2020 field," Sanders continued.
.@BernieSanders: "I like Pete Buttigieg, nice guy, but we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy, but our political life."— CSPAN (@cspan) February 7, 2020
Full video here: https://t.co/fcMvw8I4rC #FITN #NHpolitics pic.twitter.com/uuKGcFWcYn
Bernie Sanders is lacing into Pete Buttigieg at Politics and Eggs event in New Hampshire for the support he has from billionaires. “I like Pete Buttigieg. Nice guy. But we’re in a moment where billionaires not only control the economy, but the entire political process."— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) February 7, 2020
The mention of Buttigieg and his fundraising was not a part of a typical Bernie Sanders stump speech, and came as both Sanders and Buttigieg have claimed victory in Monday's Iowa Caucuses, which were beset by an ongoing vote counting debacle.
Recent polling in New Hampshire has clearly shown a bump for Buttigieg in the Granite State, putting forth the same type of outcome in Iowa - where Sanders and Buttigieg were neck and neck for the lead, while Elizabeth Warren trailed far back in third, just ahead of Joe Biden, who has lost ground in those same surveys.
Buttigieg declared victory after midnight on Iowa Caucus night, while Sanders waited until Thursday in New Hampshire to do the same.
Final results from Iowa may not be ready before New Hampshire voters go to the polls on Tuesday.
Stretching out IA results over days may have helped Buttigieg more than 1-night coverage. Other candidates made a terrible mistake in letting Buttigieg go barely touched for months. If he's to be stopped, it'll have to be in NV & SC, where minority voters finally have a big say. https://t.co/ETgxheQ41U— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) February 6, 2020
While Sanders continues to lead in the New Hampshire polls, the numbers have also shown a clear decline for Biden, as he duels with Warren for third, far back of Sanders and Buttigieg.
"I am doing in New Hampshire what I've been doing for a year all across this country," Warren told reporters after a rally in Derry on Thursday, as she parried repeated questions about whether she needed something above a third place finish in New Hampshire, next door to where she lives in Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, Biden continued to be absent from the campaign trail on Friday.
After a morning event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Biden had no campaign gatherings scheduled until a get out the vote rally in Manchester on Saturday morning.