The first February debate: ‘Cool newcomer’
After weeks of juggling the Senate impeachment trial with a presidential campaign, Ms. Klobuchar began seizing on a comment that Mr. Buttigieg made regarding the trial. The former mayor had said at a campaign rally that although he found the televised trial “exhausting and “it’s just, it gets you down, and makes you want to watch cartoons instead,” the electorate must remain informed and engaged.
Ms. Klobuchar repeatedly used that comment as a means of again highlighting her Washington experience, including in the February debate.
“But what you said, Pete, as you were campaigning through Iowa, as three of us were jurors in that impeachment hearing — you said it was exhausting to watch and that you wanted to turn the channel and watch cartoons,” she said, referring to Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders.
“It is easy to go after Washington because that’s a popular thing to do,” she continued. “It is much harder to lead, and much harder to take those difficult positions. Because I think this going after every single thing that people do, because it’s popular to say and makes you look like a cool newcomer — I just, I don’t think that’s what people want right now. We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us. I think having some experience is a good thing.”
The second February debate: A deep freeze
After obliquely lobbing criticism about their records in elections and experience in Washington, the Nevada debate last week turned personal between Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Buttigieg. The former mayor launched the first attack, recalling a recent interview in which Ms. Klobuchar couldn’t recall the name of the president of Mexico.
“I wouldn’t liken this to trivia,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “You’re staking your candidacy on your Washington experience. You’re on the committee that oversees border security. You’re on the committee that does trade. You’re literally in the part of the committee that’s overseeing these things.”
With a flash of anger, Ms. Klobuchar cut in.
“Are you trying to say that I’m dumb — are you mocking me here, Pete?” Ms. Klobuchar said. “I said I made an error. People sometimes forget names. I am the one that has, No. 1, has the experience based on passing over 100 bills.”