Sanders, Buttigieg Spar Over Free Tuition: Campaign Update

Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

(Bloomberg) -- Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign criticized Pete Buttigieg after the Indiana mayor attacked Sanders’ plan for tuition-free colleges, arguing it would unfairly subsidize education for the rich.

“The truth of the matter is that the type of attitude that Mayor Pete is exhibiting here is in fact elitist in itself,” Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver said in a call with reporters Tuesday. “The reason why people aren’t going to college is because not everybody can afford to go to college.”

He was responding to Buttigieg’s comments Monday that taxpayers shouldn’t pay to educate people who can afford to pay tuition. The feud has been unfolding between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party in recent days about funding for public education.

Buttigieg has proposed making colleges tuition-free for families making up to $100,000 a year, while Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have proposed universal free education at public universities and colleges.

Buttigieg “unlike other candidates in this race, understands that not everyone *NEEDS* to go to college & that’s it’s height of elitism to suggest people can’t live well without a degree,” his spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote on Twitter.

Bloomberg Unveils Criminal Justice Reform Plan (3:33 p.m.)

Michael Bloomberg unveiled three criminal justice reform proposals Tuesday, as he seeks to blunt criticism of his tough-on-crime policies as mayor of New York City.The proposals would end detention of nonviolent youths by supporting alternative placement programs, reduce or eliminate cash bail and reduce gun violence by treating it as a public health problem, among other things.

The Bloomberg campaign said it would unveil a comprehensive criminal justice reform plan in the coming weeks. “I’m running for president to fix our country’s most difficult problems -- including ending the era of mass incarceration, which has needlessly destroyed millions of lives,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg, who served as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, said in November that he had been wrong to support controversial “stop and frisk” policing that disproportionately affected minorities during his administration. -- Ryan Teague Beckwith

Sanders’ Massachusetts State Director Leaves (1:10 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders’ top staffer for Massachusetts has left the campaign, marking the third time a campaign state director has departed or been reassigned.

Sanders campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement that Joe Caiazzo “has decided to move on from the campaign to pursue other opportunities.” Caiazzo has also been working on Representative Joe Kennedy’s Democratic primary challenge to Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.

Caiazzo’s departure comes months after he was reassigned to Massachusetts from his job as state director in the critical early primary state of New Hampshire. The campaign last month announced that its South Carolina state director, Kwadjo Campbell, was leaving.

Caiazzo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. -- Laura Litvan

Trump Nets $3 Million at London Fundraiser (11:55 a.m.)

President Donald Trump raised $3 million for his re-election campaign at an event on Tuesday in London, where he was attending the NATO summit.

Trump took in the cash at a fundraiser at the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel. A Republican familiar with the event said the money would go to the Trump Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee shared between the president’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Federal office-seekers are barred by law from raising money from foreign nationals but they are allowed to solicit donations from U.S. citizens living overseas. -- Jordan Fabian

Tom Steyer Qualifies for Debate in December (10:14 a.m.)

Billionaire Tom Steyer became the seventh candidate to qualify for the Democratic debate on Dec. 19.

To make the cut, candidates must obtain 4% in four Democratic National Committee-approved national polls or 6% in two DNC-approved early state polls and receive donations from 200,000 individuals. Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren have all also qualified.

The debate will be held in Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University and is hosted by Politico and PBS NewsHour. Candidates have until Dec. 12 to qualify. -- Emma Kinery

Warren Proposes New Benefits for Part-Time Work (9:00 a.m.)

Elizabeth Warren unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would require companies to provide part-time workers with additional benefits and to adhere to “fair scheduling” laws.

The plan, Warren’s latest geared at working class Americans, would mandate employers offer 12 months of paid family leave for part-time workers and, for some, retirement plans after 500 work hours in two consecutive years.

The Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democratic contender also proposed barring companies with more than 500 workers from hiring new employees or contractors without first offering the additional work to existing part-time employees.

Warren said the plan “will help shift power back to part-time workers” and facilitate “the kind of big, structural change we need to create an economy that works for everyone.” -- Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

Booker Has $100 Billion Plan for Black Colleges (7:21 a.m.)

Senator Cory Booker is calling for a $100 billion investment in historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions.

In addition to making the educational establishments more affordable, Booker’s plan focuses on bolstering science, technology, engineering and math programs. He calls for the Department of Education to offer $30 billion worth of grants to improve those departments and an additional $30 billion to upgrade infrastructure.

Under his proposal to address climate change, 10% of “Moonshot Hubs” -- Booker’s proposed laboratories devoted to researching ways to combat global warming -- would be be based in historically black universities and colleges or other minority-serving institutions.

One in five African Americans with bachelor’s degrees graduated from an HBCU. Last month Bernie Sanders outlined his plan for tuition-free HBCUs and Pete Buttigieg called for increasing funding for HBCUs by $50 billion. Warren, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have also released plans to increase funding for HBCUs. -- Emma Kinery

COMING UP

Biden is on an eight-day, 18-county bus tour of Iowa through Saturday.

Warren speaks at a DNC IWillVote Gala in Boston on Thursday.

Presidential candidates including Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg will participate in a forum hosted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday.

Warren, Sanders and Biden participate in town hall meetings hosted by UNITE HERE Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas Dec. 9-11.

(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.)

--With assistance from Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Emma Kinery, Jordan Fabian, Laura Litvan and Ryan Teague Beckwith.

To contact the reporter on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at megkolfopoul@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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