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Democratic Presidential Candidates Make Closing Pitches at New Hampshire Dinner

Former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers his speech at the 2017 Harvard Class Day exercises.
Former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers his speech at the 2017 Harvard Class Day exercises. By Megan M. Ross
By Jasper G. Goodman, Crimson Staff Writer

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Democratic presidential hopeful Peter P. M. Buttigieg ’04 fended off rivals’ recent criticisms at a New Hampshire Democratic Party event attended by nearly all the major Democratic primary candidates Sunday.

Buttigieg, a former Crimson editorial editor, faced criticism over the weekend from former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as well as United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Biden — who came in fourth-place in in the Iowa caucuses last week and is lagging in the polls in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on Tuesday — released an ad criticizing Buttigieg’s work as the mayor of South Bend, Ind., on Sunday.

Though he did not name Biden, Buttigieg responded to criticisms in the ad Sunday night at the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner — an annual fundraiser for the New Hampshire Democratic party held at the 11,000-seat Southern New Hampshire University Arena.

“I know some are asking: What business does a South Bend Mayor have seeking the highest office in the land?” Buttigieg said. “You don’t have an office in Washington. You don’t have decades of experience in the establishment. The city you’re the mayor of isn’t even the biggest city in the country — it’s more like Manchester, New Hampshire.”

“To which I say, that is very much the point. Because Americans in small rural towns, in industrial communities — and yes, in pockets of our country’s biggest cities — are tired of being reduced to a punchline by Washington politicians and ready for somebody to take their voice to the American capital,” he added.

Diego A. Garcia ’20, the co-founder of Harvard College Democrats for Biden, said the former vice president’s record “speaks for itself” in contrast to Buttigieg’s.

“I think that Vice President Biden has the utmost respect for our mayors and local government across the country,” Garcia said. “But at the end of the day, what matters in a presidential primary cycle — in a presidential election — is what you've accomplished in life.”

Sanders, a former Harvard Institute of Politics resident fellow, also sharpened his criticisms of Buttigieg over the weekend by painting him as wealthy donors’ candidate of choice at campaign events and on Twitter.

Buttigieg responded Sunday night by rebuking Sanders’ call for a “political revolution.”

“With a president this divisive, we cannot risk dividing Americans further, saying that you must either be for a revolution or you must be for the status quo,” Buttigeig said, drawing boos from Sanders supporters in the crowd.

Garcia said he thinks Sanders supporters booing other candidates is unhelpful for party unity.

“I just don't think it’s healthy for the party for us to be trying to sow this type of discord,” he said.

Harvard College Democrats for Andrew Yang President Michael Zhu ’22, who attended Sunday’s McIntyre-Shaheen dinner, said that after hearing from every major Democratic presidential hopeful except for Michael R. Bloomberg — who is not on the ballot in the Granite State — he feels comfortable pledging support to the eventual nominee.

“Regardless of anything else, I still consider myself a lifelong Democrat,” Zhu said. “Even before I could actually vote, I’d still stand behind my party, of course.”

—Staff writer Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Goodman.

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PoliticsDemocrats2020 Election