AP Photo/Charles Krupa
- With his strong showing in Iowa and surge in New Hampshire, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg is seeing his list of critics expanding across the ideological spectrum.
- Having beaten former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa and now set to do the same in New Hampshire, Buttigieg is coming under attack from moderates.
- Rather than attacking his policies and rhetoric — as progressives long have — moderates like Biden are challenging Buttigieg's qualifications and experience, and asserting he's not prepared to be president.
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Pete Buttigieg has long drawn the ire of progressives, particularly the young and online subset. But with his strong showing in Iowa and surge in New Hampshire, he's now attracting sustained attacks from across the ideological spectrum.
Despite being by far the youngest candidate in the race, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has for months polled in the low single digits among voters under 35. And even though he's competing against several moderate baby boomers, Buttigieg does best among voters over 65.
As Buttigieg has gained in national polls and taken a slim lead in Iowa delegates, the left-wing backlash against him has only intensified.
Young progressives, many of whom support Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, take issue with his centrist approach to healthcare policy, college debt, and federal spending. They argue his declared "outsider" status is fraudulent, as he's the child of academics and a product of the Ivy League, Oxford, and the consulting firm McKinsey.
They credit much of his rapid rise to a strategy that prioritizes platitudes over policy and is greased by white male privilege. He's been dubbed "Mayo Pete" and "a billionaire bootlicker" and has become the subject of countless disparaging TikToks.
The socialist magazine Jacobin regularly tears Buttigieg apart in pieces with headlines like "Mayor Pete Buttigieg Is Even Worse Than He Seems" and "Pete Buttigieg's Elite-Friendly Politics Won't Help the Marginalized."
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But having beaten former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa and now set to do the same in New Hampshire, Buttigieg is coming under attack from moderates.
Instead of attacking Buttigieg's policies, they're questioning his qualifications and experience.
Biden challenged Buttigieg's record in a new video ad released Saturday that compares Biden's accomplishments in the Senate and the White House with the mayor's record in South Bend.
The former vice president repeatedly attacked Buttigieg after Iowa, warning it would be "a risk" to nominate someone so young and relatively inexperienced. And he brushed away comparisons between Buttigieg and then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008.
"This guy's not a Barack Obama," Biden said.
Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden, bluntly told CNN on Monday that Buttigieg wouldn't be ready to serve as commander in chief on day one in office.
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