Former Vice President Joe Biden is more sharply attacking his top rivals as he campaigns in New Hampshire after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, singling out Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg during a speech on Wednesday.
Biden warned attendees at his event that Sanders would hurt Democrats running in down ballot elections because he is a democratic socialist. And he admonished Buttigieg for what he described as criticism of President Barack Obama’s presidency.
Biden’s comments were a notable shift in tone for the former vice president, who had a disappointing showing in Iowa behind Buttigieg, Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Buttigieg is currently leading the Iowa caucus with 71% of precincts reporting, with Sanders close behind.
“If Sen. Sanders is the nominee for the party, every Democrat in America up and down the ballot, in blue states, red states, purple states, in easy districts and competitive ones, every Democrat will have to carry the label Sen. Sanders has chosen for himself,” Biden said at an event in Somersworth, New Hampshire. “He calls him — and I don’t criticize him – he calls himself a democratic socialist. Well, we’re already seeing what Donald Trump is gonna do with that.”
And on Buttigieg, Biden said, “Is he really saying the Obama-Biden administration was a failure? Pete, just say it out loud.”
Later, Biden called out the former South Bend mayor and highlighted his own record.
“Mayor Pete likes to call me part of the old failed Washington. Was it a failure when I helped pass Obamacare, the Paris Agreement, the Violence Against Women Act, or the assault weapons ban?” Biden tweeted Wednesday. “I have a stronger record of passing big, progressive legislation than anyone running.”
During his speech, Biden also discussed his Iowa defeat for the first time.
“I can’t sugarcoat it, we took gut punch in Iowa,” Biden said. “The whole system took a gut punch.”
Tuesday evening in Concord, New Hampshire, Biden asked the crowd to “rocket” him out of the state, which votes in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
“At this rate, New Hampshire may get the first vote after all,” Biden said. “I’d like you to rocket me out of here to make sure this thing works, OK?”