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Klobuchar: I can govern with a Republican Party reshaped by Trump better than Joe Biden can

Democratic candidates dash to Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa — Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar believes Iowa voters should choose her over former Vice President Joe Biden not only because she represents a new generation, but also because she has learned to work with a Republican Party reshaped by President Trump.

"Of course he has vast experience, and our country has benefited because of that," Klobuchar said of Biden Sunday evening in an interview with CBS News. "But I have had the experience of governing in the last few years with Donald Trump, and I've seen what's motivating my Republican colleagues firsthand — the bad of it — but I've also figured out ways you can get through."

She noted the president has signed more than 30 bills into law where she was the lead Democratic sponsor.

The latest CBS News battleground tracker has Klobuchar with 7% support among likely Democratic voters in Iowa. She trails Biden, with 25% support, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with 22% support, in the hunt for Iowa's more moderate Democrats.

Like all of the lower-performing candidates in the race, she stands to benefit from the fact that just 35% of likely voters say they've definitely made up their mind about who they will support.

But if she remains stuck in single digits, Klobuchar is in trouble: candidates can only walk away from Iowa with all-important delegates if they win at least 15% support.

Her criticism isn't just reserved for her fellow moderates. Klobuchar also said she had "a big issue" with the fact that her fellow senator, Vermont's Bernie Sanders, told "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell last Friday that it was "impossible to predict" how much his Medicare-for-All plan would cost.

"Do you know exactly what health care costs will be, one minute, in the next 10 years if we do nothing? It will be a lot more expensive than a Medicare-for-all single-payer system," Sanders said.

Klobuchar said that sounds far too much like President Trump's promises.

"That is the difference between a plan and a pipe dream," she said. "We already have someone that's running up the debt in the White House and Donald Trump has been treating people like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. I think it is really important that we have a candidate leading the ticket who is going to be able to take on Donald Trump on that very issue."

"He says all this stuff. And then he refused to pay for it, or he adds it to the debt or burdens the shoulders of kids," she added. "I don't think that's the way to do it, and I think you have to be really straightforward. You just can't say I'll figure that out later. You have to show how you're going to pay for things, and I've done that."

Sanders, Klobuchar and two other senators, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Michael Bennett of Colorado, have all been pulled away from the campaign trail in the final two weeks of the Iowa caucus by president's impeachment trial, which demands their participation six days a week. And while Klobuchar has been holding tele-town halls and dispatching surrogates across the state, she's the one who likely suffers the most from the time way from the state. So, in the limited time she had during the trial, she spent her 36 hours campaigning in Iowa this weekend to appeal to her supporters for help on the ground.

"I've always believed the obstacles on the path aren't obstacles. They are the path. I am good at those events. I like talking to people. I like making my case," she said. "We are getting bigger and bigger crowds and still having people come and say, 'I hadn't heard you before. I've heard 10 candidates, and I'm going to support you.' That happened in Waterloo. And so, I know what I'm missing out on, because for me this is a unique part of my campaigning that kind of was crescendoing to the end."

"But it is my job. I've got to go do my job, and I'm one of 100 jurors," she said. "I'm certainly not going to shirk my duties at this constitutional crisis moment for country."

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