Buttigieg, Warren square off on wealth, bundlers

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE went head-to-head on Thursday over wealth and high-dollar fundraising in the sharpest clash of the debate thus far.

In an escalation of their simmering feud, Warren took aim at Buttigieg for holding a fundraiser in a wine cave in Napa, pointing out that although Buttigieg pledged to have open fundraisers, this one was closed. In fact, the fundraiser in question was open to the press.

“We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren said. “Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.” 

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Buttigieg defended his campaign’s fundraisers, saying his campaign needs support from everybody looking to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in 2020. 

“You know, according to Forbes Magazine, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire,” Buttigieg responded. “This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass. If I pledged to never be in the company of a progressive, Democratic donor, I couldn’t be up here.” 

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“Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine,” Buttigieg continued, adding that it would not be wrong if someone donated the maximum legal amount of money to his campaign. 

“Would that pollute my campaign because it came from a wealthy person? No, I would be glad to have that support. We need the support from everybody who is committed to defeating Donald Trump,” he said. 

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Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.) jumped into the fray, saying she did not come to the debate to listen to Warren and Buttigieg spar. 

“I’ve never even been to a wine cave. I’ve been to the wind cave in South Dakota, which I suggest you visit,” she said. 

 –Updated at 1:17 a.m. EST.

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