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Democrats use Clear Lake event to attack President Trump

Democratic presidential candidates hold hands during a moment of silence before the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, in Clear Lake, Iowa.

The packed field of Democratic presidential candidates descended Friday night on a small, northern Iowa town, delighting a raucous crowd of voters by largely attacking President Donald Trump rather than each other.

Posted: Aug 9, 2019 9:16 PM
Updated: Aug 9, 2019 9:54 PM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The packed field of Democratic presidential candidates descended Friday night on a small, northern Iowa town, delighting a raucous crowd of voters by largely attacking President Donald Trump rather than each other.

Some of the loudest applause at the Wing Ding fundraiser came for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tailored her message to her rural surroundings, saying she'd stand up for small farmers against "big ag" interests.

"Trade war by tweet is not working for our farmers," she said of Trump's using Twitter to announce tariffs on China, which has stung international markets. "I promise you this, when I'm president, when I negotiate a trade deal there will be independent farmers at the table."

Also energizing the crowd was Mayor Pete Buttigeig of South Bend, Indiana, who accused the president of "coddling white nationalism" and mocked Trump's background in television, saying he wasn't sure if its current occupant had turned the White House into a "reality show" or a "horror show."

"What we're going to do is pick up the remote and change the channel," Buttigeig, the youngest presidential candidate, proclaimed to sustained cheers.

Once a low-key fundraiser that served up chicken wings and raised money for Democratic candidates and nearby county parties, the event has grown in stature in the state that kicks off presidential primary voting.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of neighboring Minnesota poked fun at the parade of candidates taking the stage one after another and forcing everyone to keep their speeches short: "Last time I had 20 minutes, and this time I have 20 candidates."

Some who ran longer than their allotted five minutes — including the evening's final speaker, former Vice President Joe Biden — were subjected to musical cues trying to play them offstage, just like the Academy Awards.

The event coincides with the state fair in Des Moines, and most Democratic White House hopefuls have been crisscrossing the state for days. California Sen. Kamala Harris is on a bus tour, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is traveling via RV and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has a Winnebago. Many of Friday's speeches featured cracking voices after long stretches of campaigning.

Biden, who has consistently led in the polls, offered a long list of Trump's actions that he said had stirred up racial division before declaring: "Let's call this what it is. This is white nationalism, this is white supremacy."

The candidates overlapped with messages of how Trump had spread hate and fear nationwide. But a few also offered stern warnings that topping the president in 2020 will be tough.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Trump will win unless Democrats have an argument that "speaks to the pain and reality of the working families of this country." Hickenlooper noted that Trump's approval rating was about 42 percent, just a tad lower than Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama before they won reelection. He also said neither Reagan nor Obama had "an economy as strong as the one today."

Hickenlooper said the Democrats need to look at the nation's history to beat Trump and swiped at the numerous senators seeking the White House, saying no senator has ever beaten a sitting president — only former governors have because they were closer to their constituents.

But most of the others played nice, a departure from two rounds of recent debates that featured frequent clashes. Things were civil behind-the-scenes, too.

As Harris spoke, Biden breezily milled through the crowd of staffers, Democratic activists and security personnel backstage. The pair has developed an increasingly testy rapport since the first debate, but Biden, with his trademark grin, was smiling and shaking hands — including with Harris aides waiting for their candidate to finish.

Iowa is also getting its first look at billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, who only recently joined the race. Steyer said he alone could challenge a fellow rich man like Trump, exposing his "pattern of fraud."

The candidates also consistently blamed Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings like those in Ohio and Texas last week.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke canceled his Iowa visit to remain in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where 22 people died. His campaign will stay suspended through the weekend and perhaps beyond.

"We've been asked a couple of times by folks when we're gonna get back on the campaign trail. We will at some point," O'Rourke said in a Facebook video from his home Friday. "We really want to be here right now for El Paso, for the families."

O'Rourke also appeared in a somber video during Friday's event.

"I'm sad that I can't be with you in person," he said. "I hope to see you in the very near future."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
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