Biden Mocked Buttigieg’s Record as Mayor in a New Video. Then Buttigieg Hit Back.

South Bends residents “don’t think their lives are a Washington politician’s punchline,” Buttigieg’s campaign responded.

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg shakes hands with former Vice President Joe Biden before the start of Friday's debate. Charles Krupa/AP

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Three days before the New Hampshire primary, things are getting prickly: former Vice President Joe Biden is out with a new video mocking Pete Buttigieg’s record as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg’s campaign is responding by calling Biden a Washington politician who trivializes the lives of people in communities like South Bend.

“Let’s compare,” a narrator states in the new video. “Joe Biden helped lead the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which gave health care to 20 million people.”

“And when park-goers called on Pete Buttigieg,” she continues, deadpan, “he installed decorative lights under bridges giving citizens of South Bend colorfully illuminated rivers.”

The compare-and-contrast continues in a similar vein: Biden helps negotiate the Iran Deal, Buttigieg tackles pet chip scanner regulations; Biden works to save the auto industry, Buttigieg revitalizes South Bend sidewalks with “decorative brick.” It ends on a more serious note, attacking Buttigieg for firing a black police chief and pushing out a black fire chief. 

“[T]he American people are crying out for something completely different from this classic Washington style of politics,” Chris Meagher, Buttigieg’s national press secretary, responded in a statement. “While Washington politics trivializes what goes in communities like South Bend, South Bend residents who have better jobs, rising income, and new life in their city don’t think their lives are a Washington politician’s punchline.”

After finishing in fourth place in the Iowa caucuses, Biden suggested during a Friday debate that he may be on the verge of another disappointing loss in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. “The Vice President’s decision to run this ad,” Buttigieg’s press secretary said, “speaks more to where he currently stands in this race than it does about Pete’s perspective as a mayor and veteran.”

Dueling polls out Friday and Saturday showed Sen. Bernie Sanders and Buttigieg continuing to battle it out at the top after Iowa’s photo finish.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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