Senator Elizabeth Warren was speaking in Cedar Rapids when the new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll was released Saturday evening.
Nearly 25 percent of Iowa caucus goers favored Pete Buttigieg in the poll. Pollster J. Ann Selzer said the mayor of South Bend is now the “stand-alone front-runner.” The same poll showed Warren, whose numbers came in at 16 percent, in nearly a dead-heat tie for second with Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.
It wasn’t the front-runner who was giving Warren problems in Iowa Saturday, though.
Reporters following Warren on her two-stop swing through Iowa picked up on comments Biden made on Warren’s new Medicare for All transition plan.
“The Biden campaign says you’re muddying the waters,” one reporter told Warren when she took questions from the media in Cedar Rapids.
“Look, I’ve shown how we can do this without raising middle class taxes by one penny. I’ve shown how we can do this to get help immediately for people on day one, in the first 90 days, and within three years, ” Warren said. “It’s all laid out. It’s all on the website.”
Sanders, meanwhile, may still sway some of Warren’s supporters to caucus for him.
A pair of women from Iowa City who attended Warren’s Cedar Rapids event are still trying to decide who they’ll back on caucus night.
Victoria Holden, 29, said she’s considering Warren because she likes her plan to relieve student debt and fully fund K-12 schools.
“Since she was a former teacher herself, she knows the unique burdens and challenges of being a teacher in that position,” Holden said. “And, just frankly, as a woman candidate, I think she can appeal to men and women both, and hopefully be different from the typical white guy after white guy.”
Holden also praised Warren’s health care plan because she said the current system is so broken, she can barely understand it.
“We need to find a way to simplify this for people working in the health care system and those utilizing it to give more options to people who are struggling with their health, like cancer, becoming pregnant, raising children, whatever it may be,” Holden said. “Whereas now the system seems — to borrow the old cliche — seems very broken. It’s this maze where you can go deeper and deeper and find no exit or no answer.”
Madison Stewart, a 24-year-old grad student at the University of Iowa, is also a supporter of Medicare for All.
“Personally, I’ve always had shit health care,” Stewart said. “The only reason I have it now is because I’m a grad student and the University of Iowa offers a great plan. But, when I was a teenager and an undergrad, I oftentimes had no health care and a lot of different things to deal with and I didn’t have the money to deal with it.”
Still, Stewart and Holden aren’t sure who they are voting for. They both attended Sanders rally with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Iowa City last week.
“I really liked the rally. It was great and AOC backing him is really valuable, but is that really enough to make us choose between him and Elizabeth?” Stewart asked. “I don’t know. That’s why we’re here, to learn more and see.”
Neither of the two said they’re worried about Warren’s electability.
Holden said she thinks the electability concern is “completely made up” at the expense of “any type of minority person.”
“Women, people of color, nontraditional, gay — it’s all towards them,” Holden said. “Asking whether they’re electable or not questions if they’re a rich, old, white man typically. Obama wasn’t considered electable either, yet he did a great job.”
The question of Warren’s electability was brought up once during her stop in Cedar Rapids. One attendee who had the chance to ask Warren a question wondered whether she could use Evangelical and Christian values to appeal to swing voters.
Warren, a Methodist, quoted Matthew 25, a parable from the Bible, in which a shepherd said, “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink. I was in prison and you visited me, a stranger and you took me in.”
Warren said the story taught her two things.
“First, there’s something of value in every single one of us, including the hungry, including the naked and including those who have risen,” Warren said. “Every human being has value. And second, that we are called not simply to sit back and acknowledge it. We were called to act.”
by Paige Godden