As gaffes continue to pile up for former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are battling to become the top alternative candidate in the 2020 primary. Both candidates were in New Hampshire over the weekend, with Sanders releasing a plan to cancel $81 billion in medical debt and Warren highlighting her electability.
Catch up on the biggest news on the 2020 presidential front.
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden
As he is wont to do, former Vice President Joe Biden continued to pile up gaffes that are increasingly putting supporters on edge that he may be incapable of defeating President Trump. During a campaign event in New Hampshire last week, Biden told a war story about how he had travelled to Afghanistan, despite concerns about visiting a war-torn area, in order to honor a Navy captain for retrieving the body of his dead comrade during battle. Biden called the story “God’s truth,” but a report from The Washington Post found that “almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect.”
The latest in a long string of gaffes caused multiple outlets, including CNN and New York Magazine, to question Biden’s fitness for office. The Washington Post published a subsequent editorial calling on Biden to “pull it together.” Vice News had an even more pointed take on Biden’s missteps, writing, “If there’s one thing Joe Biden loves more than approaching women from behind and putting his hands on their shoulders, it’s stealing valor.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders visited South Carolina where he touted his plan to address climate change and continued to highlight his Medicare for All plan. At an event in Florence, SC, Sanders admitted that under his health care plan, Americans are “going to be paying more in taxes” but that their coverage would be better.
Over the weekend, Sanders also announced a plan to cancel “all $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt.” Sanders claimed that “500,000 people go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their outrageous medical bills,” a statistic that prompted The Washington Post to publish a fact check. The Post assigned Sanders 3 “Pinocchios” for the claim, causing his campaign to demand that the newspaper retract its fact-check. A letter from Sanders’ team accused The Post of both factually incorrect reporting in the medical bankruptcy piece, and of not covering Sanders in a “fair, professional and ethical” manner.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent the weekend campaigning in New Hampshire as she continues to rise in national polls. At an event in the Granite State on Labor Day, Warren played up her electability in a general election, saying that she “know[s] how to win.” The electability question has nagged Warren’s campaign since it began earlier this year; although Democrats seem to like her positions, they don’t appear to be convinced that she can defeat President Trump in 2020.
Warren was in New Hampshire at the same time as Sanders, and while neither directly attacked each other, most outlets have begun to acknowledge that the two northeastern Senators are battling to be the main alternative to a Biden candidacy.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Struggling to stay relevant in the 2020 primary, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is shoring up his campaign staff in Iowa. According to reports, Buttigieg plans to increase staffing in the early presidential state to nearly 100 by the end of the first week of September. Buttigieg led the 2020 Democratic presidential field in fundraising in the second quarter by bringing in close to $25 million but has remained behind top-tier contenders in polling.