She hit him on his lack of leadership twice, once noting that he’d backtracked from support for Medicare-for-all (“what leadership is about is taking a position, looking at things and sticking with them”) and about his response to President Trump’s impeachment trial.
“What you said, Pete, as you were campaigning through Iowa,” she said, “as three of us were jurors in that impeachment hearing” — referring to herself and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) — “you said it was exhausting to watch, and that you wanted to turn the channel and watch cartoons. It is easy to go after Washington, because that’s a popular thing to do. It is much harder … to lead, and much harder to take those difficult positions.”
This isn’t really what Buttigieg said. But Klobuchar was seemingly more into dropping bombs than checking her targets. She even hit Buttigieg on his age.
“I am listening to this about meeting the moment,” she said, “and my first thought is, I’m a fresh face up here for a presidential debate, and I figure, Pete, that 59, my age, is the new 38 up here.”
New Hampshire is shaping up to be a particularly critical state for the Democratic primary, given the collapse of Iowa’s importance in the process. The results the caucuses held last week are still uncertain and may remain uncertain indefinitely, but the lack of clarity in the result meant that none of the myriad Democratic candidates were forced to give up on their campaigns.
Which isn’t to say that the caucuses had no effect. Buttigieg benefited from the release of early data showing him leading in delegate counts, figures that will be contested and possibly revised over the coming days. Former vice president Joe Biden’s poor performance, meanwhile, appears to have surprised even his campaign.
In a tracking poll conducted by Suffolk University for the Boston Globe, Buttigieg surged in New Hampshire polling after the caucuses while Biden slipped.
It’s important to note that those polls are averages of two days of surveys. The last point shown above is a poll conducted on Feb. 6 and 7, on Thursday and Friday of last week. In other words, it only partly overlaps with the day of the debate itself.
Since then? Well, Klobuchar and Buttigieg have moved in exactly the directions that she would have hoped, given her attacks.
We’ll take out Warren and Biden to make that clearer.
Notice that Sanders also has an uptick here. It’s not immediately clear why. There was not a clear Buttigieg-to-Sanders shift in Iowa. It may be noise in the polling to some extent.
It’s worth remembering that tightly bunched polls with decent-size margins of error (4.4 points here) can suggest a wider spread than exists. Incorporating the margin of error in the Suffolk-Globe poll, we see that Sanders’s lead over Buttigieg isn’t statistically significant — nor is Buttigieg’s over Klobuchar.
Throw Biden and Warren back into the mix, and things look even muddier.
The most important number on that chart is one that isn’t actually displayed: 15 percent. If candidates don’t hit 15 percent in polling statewide, they’re not eligible for delegates to the national convention.
If the most recent tracking poll were 100 percent accurate about the results Tuesday, that would mean that only Sanders and Buttigieg would earn delegates from the state.
That’s not exactly what Klobuchar hopes to see.