Saturday Afternoon Presidential Candidates: We’d List All Eight, But That Would Be Too Long A Headline
Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker drew the loudest cheers. John Hickenlooper got booed.
It was a marathon of a Saturday afternoon session at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco, where more than 5,000 delegates and guests heard from eight different presidential candidates.
Buttigieg opened with warm words for the Golden State. “I feel right at home every time I come to California. Not just because of the warm welcome, but because the spirit of this state is so much like the spirit of my campaign: new thinking, bold action, a focus on the future,” said the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
And as Elizabeth Warren did this morning, Buttigieg seemed to take aim at former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s leading in polls and skipped the convention to campaign in Ohio on Saturday.
President Trump “wins if we look like defenders of the system,” Buttigieg said. “He wins if we look like more of the same. He wins if we look like Washington. And so the riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.”
Booker struck a similar note when he said the election was “not about one guy in one office” but “a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other.”
“Beating Donald Trump is a must,” the New Jersey senator said, “but that is a floor, not a ceiling. We are bigger than that! We have greater ambition than that!”
Hickenlooper, on the other hand, found a very different reception — and predictably so, in this crowd of party activists.
“If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” the Colorado governor said, drawing the day’s first boos, which prompted him to add: “If we’re not careful, we’re going to end up helping to re-elect the worst president in American history."
He got even more boos by coming out against single-payer health care, calling instead for “a real public option.”
That reaction may have prompted the next candidate who spoke, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, to introduce himself as “the governor who doesn't think we should be ashamed of our progressives values.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar cracked the convention hall up as she discussed how she’s won all her races despite starting out with less money than her opponents.
“One time, I even had to actually call everyone I knew in my life, and I set what is still an all-time record: I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends,” she said.
Delegates also heard from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and California’s own Rep. Eric Swalwell, who represents an East Bay Area district.