Tonight was Pete Buttigieg’s turn to experience the unique treatment a front-runner receives during a presidential-primary debate.
Buttigieg’s Democratic rivals greeted the co-winner of the Iowa caucuses with a pile-on as the race shifted to New Hampshire. Multiple candidates onstage belittled his relative lack of governing experience as the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
“We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us,” Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said in one of the big early moments of the debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. She suggested that Buttigieg was childish for joking about how President Donald Trump’s “exhausting” impeachment trial made him want to change the channel and “watch cartoons.”
“It is easy to go after Washington, because that's a popular thing to do,” Klobuchar said. “It is much harder to lead and much harder to take those difficult positions.”
Stuck in fifth place, Klobuchar has tried—with mixed success—to use the platform of the debates to challenge Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden in the moderate lane of the Democratic primary. A few minutes earlier, she called out Buttigieg for dialing back his support for Medicare for All only after joining the race for president.