- Pete Buttigieg painted the choice between Bloomberg and Sanders as one between two extremes.
- During the Nevada Democratic debate Wednesday, implied that neither is "actually a Democrat."
- Sanders stood his ground, saying he helps the working class, pointing to Buttigieg's wealthy donors.
As the Democrats on the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday night took aim at ascending candidate Mike Bloomberg, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg saved a bit of fire for the new leader in the pack, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"How are we going to possibly fix our economy if the choice is between a socialist who thinks capitalism is the root of all evil and somebody who believes money is the root of all power?" Buttigieg said, referencing Bloomberg and Sanders, respectively.
"We could wake up in two weeks from today, the day after Super Tuesday, and the only candidates left standing will be Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, the two most polarizing figures on this stage. ... Lets put forward somebody's who's actually a Democrat."
Bloomberg is a former Republican and independent. Sanders, meantime, describes himself as a democratic socialist and supports plans like "Medicare for All" that veer left of more moderate candidates like Buttigieg.
"If speaking to the needs and the pain of the long-neglected working class is polarizing, I think you've got the wrong word," Sanders fired back. "Maybe it's time for the working class to have a little bit of power in Washington rather than your billionaire campaign contributors."
Buttigieg responded that his campaign is fueled by "hundreds of thousands of contributors," teeing it up for Sanders to retort, "including 46 billionaires."
Buttigieg has gotten criticism for his billionaire donor base and flashy fundraising events, like his now infamous billionaire wine cave fundraiser.