Joe Biden was not in the banquet hall for the Iowa Democratic Party's blockbuster fundraiser on Sunday where 19 of his party's presidential candidates spoke. But he was present in the veiled criticism from several of his rivals, the AP reports. In five-minute chunks of speaking time, the candidates got the chance to make their case before 1,400 of the most influential Democrats in the leadoff caucus state. Some chose to nudge the national front-runner, and leader in a new Iowa poll, without naming him:
- Chief among them was Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said the "same old politics will not" defeat President Trump. In his speech, Sanders noted a "well-intentioned" candidate who thinks "the best way forward is a middle-ground strategy that antagonizes no one, that stands up to nobody and that changes nothing."
- Sen. Cory Booker criticized the idea of targeting Trump, clearly a strategy of Biden's: "Beating Donald Trump is the floor—it is not the ceiling," Booker said, per the Wall Street Journal. "Beating him will get us out of the valley but it will not get us to the mountaintop."
- "We're not going to win by playing it safe," said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. "We Democrats can no more promise a return to the '90s than the Republicans can deliver on a promise to return us to the '50s."
- Rep. Eric Swalwell took an apparent swipe over Biden's hot-and-cold attitude toward the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortions. "Let's repeal the discriminatory Hyde Amendment," said Swalwell.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren made a veiled reference to fundraisers Biden is holding with corporate leaders and trial lawyers around the country. "I'm not spending my time with high-dollar donors and with corporate lobbyists," she said. "That's how we build a grassroots movement in America."
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