US 2020: Buttigieg responds to Biden advert

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AFP

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Joe Biden (L) and Pete Buttigieg have clashed in their run for the presidential nomination

The battle between US Democratic presidential hopefuls Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden has heated up this weekend following the chaos of last week’s Iowa caucus.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, the two candidates continued to attack each other’s record.

Their interviews came after Mr Biden shared a video mocking Pete Buttigieg’s record as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

The first primary of the election begins in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Initial results of the Iowa caucus on 3 February, which was beset by technical problems, showed Mr Buttigieg in a narrow lead ahead of Bernie Sanders, with both candidates receiving around a quarter of the votes.

Mr Biden, however, came in fourth.

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Media captionButtigieg chokes up as he takes early lead in Iowa result

Why now?

Mr Biden’s new campaign video, which has been viewed four million times since it was posted on Twitter on Saturday, launched a scathing attack on Mr Buttigieg, comparing his own achievements as vice-president to his opponent’s record as mayor of the city of South Bend.

The video claimed that Mr Buttigieg had fired a black police chief and forced out a black fire chief during his time as mayor.

“The vice president’s decision to run this ad speaks more to where he currently stands in this race than it does about Pete’s perspective as a mayor and veteran,” Buttigieg’s national press secretary responded.

Asked in an interview with ABC News on Sunday if he thought Mr Buttigieg had “a race problem”, Mr Biden replied: “No, I’m saying he hasn’t been able to unify the black community, that’s what I’m saying.”

“Let’s get something straight here,” Mr Biden said. “I didn’t attack Pete. Pete’s been attacking me. He’s been saying the reason we’re in the problem we’re in now is because of the recent past. That’s 8 years of Obama and me. I don’t get that.”

Buttigieg, however, responded defiantly in a separate interview with ABC.

When told that former Vice-President Biden’s position appeared to essentially be that Buttigieg “is no Barack Obama”, the former mayor responded: “Well he’s right, I’m not Barack Obama, and neither is he. Neither is anyone running for president right now. And this isn’t 2008, it’s 2020, and this election is about where our country is headed next.”

He responded to Biden’s argument about the importance of winning the support of black voters by saying: “I’m going to have to work to earn that vote, just as I did in South Bend.”

“We need to have a systemic vision for dismantling systemic racism,” he went on to say.

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Media captionBiden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar: Who has what it takes to beat Trump?

There are now fewer than a dozen candidates left in the race to become the Democratic nominee for the 3 November presidential election.

The party’s official nominee is announced in July during the Democratic National Convention, although a clear frontrunner usually emerges before this.

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