Elizabeth Warren Spars With Pete Buttigieg Over “Wine Cave” Fundraiser and Donors

Sen. Elizabeth Warren sparred with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg over campaign finance at Thursday’s Democratic debate.

“The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900 a bottle wine,” Warren said. “We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president.”

“I’m literally the only person on this stage who’s not a millionaire or a billionaire,” Buttigieg replied. “This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass. I pledge never to be in the company of a progressive Democratic donor, I couldn’t be up here. Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine.”

“I do not sell access to my time,” Warren said. “I don’t do call time with millionaires and billionaires. I don’t meet behind closed doors with big-dollar donors . . . I’ve said to anyone who wants to donate to me, 'If you want to donate to me, that’s fine. But don’t come around later expecting to be named ambassador.' Because that’s what goes on at these high dollar fundraisers."

Buttigieg calls out Warren:

“If you can’t stand up to the wealthy when it’s relatively easy — when you’re a candidate — then how can the American people believe you’re going to stand up to the wealthy and well-connected when you’re president, and it’s really hard,” Warren told Buttigieg.

But Buttigieg questioned when she made this her policy.

“Your presidential campaign right now, as we speak, is funded in part by money you transferred having raised it at those exact same big ticket fundraisers you now denounce,” he said. “Did it corrupt you, senator? Of course, not.”

Klobuchar also goes in on Pete:

“I did not come here to listen to this argument. I came here to make a case for progress, and I have never even been to a wine cave,” Klobuchar said. “I have been to the wind cave in South Dakota, which I suggest you go to.”

Later in the debate, Klobuchar called out Buttigieg for mocking “hundreds of years of experience on the stage” and said the other candidates had far more seasoning to be president.

Buttigieg said he was also in the US Navy Reserve.

"That is my experience, and it may not be the same as yours, but it counts, senator," he said. "It counts."

"I certainly respect your military experience," Klobuchar replied. "That's not what this is about. This is about choosing a president . . . And the point is, we should have someone heading up this ticket that has actually won and been able to show they can gather the support that you talk about — moderate Republicans and independents, as well as a fired-up Democratic base — and not just done it once."

Buttigieg touted his electability by noting he won re-election as a “gay dude in Mike Pence’s Indiana.”

"If you had won in Indiana that would be one thing," she said before unsuccessful run for state treasurer. "You tried, and you lost by 20 points. I'm sorry, that's just a fact."


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