Amy Klobuchar: Regardless of the impeachment trial, "we have to have" a pre-Iowa debate

Despite the fact that the Senate might hold a trial before the Iowa caucus, Klobuchar said there must be a debate

By Matthew Rozsa
December 22, 2019 8:45PM (UTC)
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., answers a question during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told Margaret Brennan of the CBS program "Face the Nation" that she believes the Democratic National Committee (DNC) needs to hold a debate before the Iowa caucus, even if the Senate is holding a trial for President Donald Trump at the time due to his recent impeachment.

"My first belief is we have to have the debate," Klobuchar said when asked if her campaign would request that the DNC reschedule the upcoming presidential debate. "And if for some reason it doesn't work, sometimes there's breaks in the trial and even when you looked at past impeachment trials, there were breaks in the day so we could get there. If that day doesn't work, there's plenty of other days. We know we don't have Sundays when we're doing this and there's going to be other days after that. We may just have to have the debate closer to the Iowa caucuses."


Earlier in the interview, Klobuchar tied the perceived success of her performance in Thursday's Democratic debate with voters' desire for a candidate who can hold the president accountable. After telling Brennan that she has been consistent in her moderate views throughout her career, and has "passed over 100 bills in the United States Senate during a really difficult time," Klobuchar said that "I think the other thing I did in this debate was just make the case of how I want to be the one debating Donald Trump."

She later added, "And I think it is more than just the nitty gritty of policy. It's also a value statement because so many people want a values check on this president. They want someone who gives them a decency check, a patriotism check."

A FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll of likely Democratic primary voters before and after the Democratic debate found that Klobuchar had received the biggest boost as a result of her strong performance, while South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — one of her chief rivals for the presidential nomination — saw his numbers take a hit.


One notable moment of that debate was when Klobuchar criticized Buttigieg for having "basically mocked the hundred years of experience on the stage" during the previous debate. After praising Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's work starting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' work helping veterans and her own work negotiating three farm bills, Klobuchar told Buttigieg that "I just think you should respect our experience when you look at how you evaluate someone who can get things done."

After Buttigieg replied by claiming that Klobuchar had denigrated his experience during the break and he had wanted to let it go "because we got bigger fish to fry here," Klobuchar replied that "Oh, I don't think we have bigger fish to fry than picking a president of the United States."

Later, when Buttigieg tried to compare himself and Klobuchar over their respective abilities to get elected, the Minnesota senator told the South Bend mayor, "If you had won in Indiana, that would be one thing. You tried and you lost by 20 points. I'm sorry. That's just the math."


See video below.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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