Bedford, New Hampshire — As Bernie Sanders stood in a room adorned with the banners of corporate giants like Bank of America, Fidelity and Comcast, he asked his suit-and-tie-wearing audience why the country is working for the wealthy and not for the working class.
It wasn't an unfamiliar speech for the independent senator from Vermont, until he began to attack opponent Pete Buttigieg, who appears to have deprived him of the clear win out of Iowa he was hoping for in this week's caucuses.
"I like Pete Buttigieg. Nice guy," Sanders said. "But we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy but our political life."
"I'm reading some headlines from newspapers about Pete Buttigieg," he continued. "'Pete Buttigieg has most exclusive billionaire donors of any Democrat'....That was from Forbes. The Hill: 'Pete Buttigieg tops billionaire donor list.' Fortune: 'Pete Buttigieg takes lead as big business candidate in 2020 field.' Washington Post: 'Pete Buttigieg lures even closer look from Wall Street donors following strong Iowa caucus performance.' Forbes Magazine: 'Here are the billionaires backing Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign.'"
The criticism of Buttigieg issued from Sanders' complaint about another "nice guy" in the primary race, multi-billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who, Sanders noted, is "spending millions to buy the election."
"How do we feel about living in so-called democracy when a billionaire multiple time over can do that? How do we feel when we have candidates in the Democratic party taking money from billionaires?" Sanders asked, in a slap at both Bloomberg and Buttigieg.
Sanders then posed a question that he answered himself:
"Companies like Amazon, owned by the wealthiest guy in America, last year paid zero in federal income taxes — less than you paid. How does that happen? Why does that happen? And the answer is that we have a corrupt, political system. That's the simple fact."