The sweepstakes contestants went after Donald Trump….
NOT each other in the first state to start off next years Presidential nomination contest…
The affair, which stretched for three-and-a-half hours, offered a peek into what Democratic candidates believe motivates Iowa caucus-goers most: Beating Trump. The display of tenderness toward each other was a sharp contrast to last week’s debates in Detroit, where multiple on-stage skirmishes broke out among Democrats, pitting moderates and progressives against each other and even diminishing Barack Obama’s legacy.
Some Democrats later expressed concern over the perception that the primary was turning into an ugly, months-long spectacle of Democratic infighting that would only make Trump’s reelection that much more likely.
In contrast to the debates, Friday’s format of successive individual speeches did not encourage candidates to lay into their primary rivals. Trump was a more logical target.
And so it went.
“Trade war by tweet is not working for our farmers,” Elizabeth Warren told the crowd, whose cheers and whistles grew so deafening by the end of her address, she struggled to shout over it.
Billionaire Tom Steyer took the stage in his Iowa debut as a presidential candidate and drew robust applause after referring to Trump as the “criminal in the White House,” and calling for the ouster of Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
Pete Buttigieg accused Trump of “coddling white nationalists.” Alluding to the president’s clash with minority members of Congress, he spoke about his reverence for the American flag and how it symbolizes “the idea that we are able and indeed sometimes required to be critical of our leadership and when we do, no one will question our loyalty to the republic for which it stands, let alone tell us to go back to where we came from.”
A different scene played out just outside the venue before the event, where groups of supporters for each campaign formed cheering sections in an attempt to show organizational strength in the state.
But by early evening, the shouting on the street quieted — in one of the more poignant moments of the campaign — for a moment of silence for the victims of gun violence, an event put together by Beto O’Rourke’s staff. The former congressman from El Paso skipped the Wing Ding and state fair to support his home town in the aftermath of the shooting.
Walking to a plaza about a block from the venue, candidates including Buttigieg, Bill de Blasio, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — and representatives of nearly every other campaign — were instructed to hug someone from a competing campaign and say, “I love you.”…