Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined in on a wave of attacks against front-runner Bernie Sanders in the last Democratic presidential debate before the South Carolina primary and the multistate Super Tuesday contests.
On the Vermont senator’s plans for universal programs such as Medicare for All, Klobuchar said Tuesday night that voters are put off by the price tag. The Minnesotan also said she is not comfortable with a socialist leading the ticket.
But as the candidates repeatedly took swipes at and shouted over each other during the debate, Klobuchar pulled back and warned of the consequences of an ugly nomination fight.
“If we spend the next four months tearing our party apart, we’re going to watch Donald Trump spend the next four years tearing our country apart,” she said.
Klobuchar entered the CBS News debate trying to win back momentum after a shaky showing in the Nevada caucuses, where she finished sixth. She is not expected to fare well Saturday in South Carolina, either, where she’s polling in the low single digits.
The debate marked a critical point in the 2020 nomination fight, just a week from the March 3 Super Tuesday contests in which Minnesota and 14 other states and territories will vote on a Democratic presidential nominee.
Her attacks on Sanders Tuesday signaled a change in strategy from the previous debate in Nevada, where she feuded with fellow moderate and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But it may not help her emerge from the pack of moderates or quiet calls for her to drop out of the race and back another moderate against Sanders.
Klobuchar faced little scrutiny during the debate and weighed in on a slew of issues, such as her support for legalization of recreational marijuana and how she would handle further spread of the coronavirus.
“This is so serious,” she said of the virus that has reached almost global pandemic levels since emerging in China and spreading to at least 37 countries. She urged voters to visit CDC.gov to learn more about it.