Gabbard Clashes With Fellow Candidates During Democratic Debate

Nov 21, 2019

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard crossed swords with fellow presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg during Wednesday nightʻs Democratic debate.

"I think that it's unfortunate that we have someone on the stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama,” Harris said.

That brought Gabbard's response: “I'm not going to put party interests first.” 

The tense exchange rekindled a dustup between the two that first erupted during the Democrats' July debate, when Gabbard took the offensive in attacking Harris' record as California attorney general.

In Wednesday's bout, Harris questioned Gabbard's party credentials, saying the congresswoman has attacked former President Barack Obama on Fox News, the favorite network of conservatives.

Gabbard called Harris' comments "lies and smears and innuendos."

Gabbard did seem to separate herself even farther from her party by again criticizing the Democrats.

"Our Democratic Party, unfortunately, is not the party that is of, by and for the people," she said. "It is a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington represented by Hillary Clinton and others’ foreign policy, by the military industrial complex and other greedy corporate interests."

She and Clinton have squabbled as well. Clinton has suggested the Russians have an eye on Gabbard as a third-party candidate, something Gabbard has denied. She has called Clinton the "personification of the rot" in the Democratic Party"  and has threatened to sue Clinton for defamation if the former presidential nominee does not retract the comments.

Gabbard also sparred with candidate Pete Buttigieg over the experience needed to serve as commander-in-chief. Gabbard noted both she and Buttigieg have military service but she has more experience, such as meeting with foreign leaders.

Buttigieg shot back that judgment also comes into play, and disparaged her decision to meet with Syria leader Bashar al-Assad, who he called a "murderous dictator."