Steyer Says Experience Qualifies Him for Debate: Campaign Update

2020-01-12 15:53:04

(Bloomberg) — Billionaire Tom Steyer says his business experience qualifies him to stand on stage with five other Democratic candidates Tuesday in Iowa, the final debate before that state’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest.

“I did business for over 30 years working and traveling around the world, meeting with governments, talking to the heads of huge corporations,” Steyer told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Steyer said he’s learned what drives America’s business around the world and what makes trade relationships succeed. “The other people who I’m running against, all the other people are career politicians, many of whom are extremely famous,” he said.

The former hedge fund manager has spent more than $106 million on television, cable, radio and digital ads since he launched his presidential campaign in July, according to data from Advertising Analytics, which tracks political ad spending. Fox News polls released last week showed him gaining in two early states, South Carolina and Nevada.

“What I have seen in South Carolina and every state is very low name recognition, and then we work to let people hear my message,” Steyer said. “And in every state, when people hear that, the numbers go up consistently.”

Warren Criticizes Sanders Over Order to ‘Trash’ (3:03 p.m.)

Elizabeth Warren criticized Bernie Sanders for the first time in the 2020 presidential race, saying she was disappointed to learn that her Democratic rival was instructing his campaign volunteers to “trash” her to voters.

On Saturday, Politico reported that the Sanders campaign had told volunteers to tell voters leaning toward Warren that she’s a candidate who only appeals to “highly-educated, more affluent people” and is “bringing no new bases” into the party.

“I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,” Warren told reporters in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Sunday. “He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for.”

The progressive rivals have repeatedly said they were friends and abstained from directly taking each other on, even when pressed by reporters and voters to draw a distinction between their candidacies.

Firing back at Sanders, Warren suggested that his tactics showed he might not be able to unite the party to defeat President Donald Trump. “We all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016 and we can’t have a repeat of that,” Warren said.

Sanders played down the incident. He said there were more than 500 people on his campaign and suggested that individuals acting on their own were responsible for the talking points about Warren. “I have never said a negative word about Elizabeth Warren who is a friend of mine,” Sanders told reporters in Iowa City. “We have differences on issues, that is what this campaign is about, but no one is going to be attacking Elizabeth.” — Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Emma Kinery

Buttigieg Is Endorsed by Iowa Congressman (10:52 a.m.)

Iowa Representative Dave Loebsack endorsed Pete Buttigieg on Sunday, giving the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a high-profile supporter weeks before the Iowa’s caucuses.

Loebsack, who is retiring from Congress after seven terms, represents Iowa’s Second District, which includes much of the eastern and southern part of the state. His district voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2016 before flipping to Donald Trump in 2016.

“Pete offers a new kind of leadership that we desperately need –– he’s a Midwestern mayor, a veteran, and is from a new generation,” Loebsack said in a statement. “Pete is the candidate that can heal our divides, restore decency to the presidency, and bring this country together.”

Loebsack will campaign with Buttigieg in Des Moines on Sunday evening. He is the second member of the Iowa delegation to endorse a Democratic presidential candidate, after Representative Abby Finkenauer threw her support behind Joe Biden at the start of the year.

A Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll released Friday showed that Buttigieg has fallen 9 points since November, when he was in first place. Bernie Sanders leads in Iowa in the new poll with 20% support, while Elizabeth Warren is in second place at 17%, virtually tied with Buttigieg at 16%, leaving national front-runner Biden in fourth place at 15%. — Tyler Pager


Six Democrats — Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders, Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer — have qualified for the next debate, on Tuesday in Iowa.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3.

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

(Adds Sanders comment in Warren item)

–With assistance from Tyler Pager and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hailey Waller in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at, Max Berley, Ros Krasny

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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