It might be an inconvenient time for jury duty with the Iowa caucuses less than a week away, but two of the four Democratic candidates at the top of the polls in the state, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, remain stuck in Washington for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. But they did get out to meet with voters over the weekend to drum up support for Monday’s contest, the first of this year’s primary season.
At a town hall meeting Sunday in Cedar Rapids, Warren said in response to a question about LGBT issues and sexual education in public schools that she would only nominate a secretary of education who had the approval of a “young trans person.” Warren told the voter that “only if this person believes that our secretary of education nominee is someone who is committed to creating a welcoming environment, a safe environment, and a full education curriculum for everyone, will that person actually advance to be secretary of education.”
Meanwhile, another top polling candidate, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, dodged a question about whether pro-lifers belong in the Democratic Party. Kristin Day, president of Democrats for Life, asked him at a town hall meeting on Sunday whether he would push the party toward becoming a “big-tent” of diverse viewpoints on abortion. Buttigieg responded by saying he holds to the party’s current position, which “unequivocally” endorses abortion and wants to overturn the Hyde Amendment banning federal funds for abortions.
“I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you,” Buttigieg said. “I am pro-choice, and I believe a woman ought to be able to make that decision.”
The Democratic candidates were scheduled for a debate on Jan. 14, but preparing for the impeachment trial threw a wrench into those plans. The next debate is now set for Feb. 7, just four days before the New Hampshire primary. So far, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, billionaire Tom Steyer, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang are the only candidates who have qualified to take the stage. —H.P.