Joe Biden unleashed a blistering attack on Senator Elizabeth Warren, accusing his rival of “elitism” toward Democratic voters after she suggested last week that his health care proposal would make him more at home in a Republican presidential primary.
Warren’s remarks reflect a “‘my way or the highway’ approach to politics that is “condescending to the millions of Democrats who have a different view,” Biden wrote in a Tuesday post on Medium. “It’s representative of an elitism that working and middle class people do not share: ‘We know best; you know nothing.’ ‘If you were only as smart as I am you would agree with me.’”
Defending her $20.5 trillion Medicare for All proposal last week, Warren told reporters that Democratic presidential hopefuls whose plans don’t call for ending private health insurance are “running in the wrong presidential primary.” The comments were clearly directed at Biden and Pete Buttigieg, who both favor adding a public option to Obamacare instead of replacing the whole system.
Warren has been steadily gaining in national polls on Biden, the longtime front-runner, and they are running neck-and-neck in a recent Iowa survey.
The health care rift has become a proxy for a broader ideological debate over how far left the party should go. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders are proposing expansive overhauls to existing policies and major tax increases on the rich to pay for them. Biden and Buttigieg say the party should be more concerned about winning back moderate voters in swing states.
In his Medium post, the former vice president said it was at once “funny” and “a serious problem” for Warren, who was a Republican until 1996, to say he belongs anywhere other than the Democratic Party.
“I know what we stand for, who we stand with and what we believe. And it’s not just policies or issues. It’s in my bones,” he said. “That’s not something everyone in this primary can say,” he said, alluding to Warren and Sanders, who has designated himself as an independent in the Senate.
Biden made similar remarks Tuesday night in Pittsburgh but added a more direct jab at Warren’s party affiliation, telling donors: “This person has only fairly recently in the mid-90s become a Democrat.”
The “serious problem” with Warren’s comments is that “they reflect an angry unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics,” Biden said. “This is no way to get anything done. This is no way to bring the country together. This is no way for this party to beat Donald Trump.”
Biden said his health care and tax proposals are progressive and achievable. “I believe I have proposed the most progressive, transformational ideas in this campaign — and I can get them done,” he said.
“I’m running in the Democratic primary as a proud Democrat,” he said adding that he’s a member of the Democratic Party of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the Affordable Care Act.
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