LOS ANGELES — While former presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke rallied around Joe Biden in Dallas, Elizabeth Warrenprovided a sharp dose of criticism instead, calling the former vice president a risk to the Democratic Party and the country.
"I respect his years of service," Warren said Monday night during a Los Angeles rally. "But no matter how many Washington insiders tell you to support him, nominating their fellow Washington insider will not meet this moment."
"Nominating a man who says we do not need any fundamental change in this country will not meet this moment. Nominating someone who wants to restore the world before Donald Trump, when the status quo has been leaving more and more people behind for decades, is a big risk for our party and our country," Warren said in her strongest critique of the former vice president in this race so far.
The Massachusetts senator railed against Biden in a moment when moderate Democrats are coalescing in an effort to strengthen support against Bernie Sanders. Warren's rhetoric sets her up as an alternative to Bidenand Sanders and aims to paint her as a candidate with progressive values who can also get things done.
"From the start of this campaign, despite so many great candidates with so many different perspectives, voters who were worried about beating Donald Trump have been told there are only two lanes, only two choices," Warren said, "And now we find ourselves barreling toward another primary along the same lanes as 2016: one for an insider, one for an outsider."
"Democratic voters should have more choice than that. America needs more choice than that. … That's why I'm running for president."
In the lead-up to early voting states including Iowa and New Hampshire, Warren tried to pitch herself as the unity candidate, saying the country "can't have a repeat" of 2016 with attacks within the party. But in recent weeks, she's been quick to draw contrasts between her competitors, calling out Biden's willingness to compromise with Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and Sanders' failure in getting what he calls for done in Washington.
Warren trails significantly in pledged delegates after the early state primaries. She has earned just eight delegates compared to Sanders' 60 and Biden's 54.
But despite the gap, Warren's campaign advised in a memo released Sunday that she is in the primary for the "long haul" and will be prepared, with now $29 million raised at the end of February, to last as far as the convention in July.