Warren-Biden fight over health care escalates

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Facing slumping poll numbers and struggling to raise money, Joe Biden is ramping up his criticism of Elizabeth Warren. His new strategy appears to be painting Warren as an out-of-touch elitist.

Warren is pushing back, implying Biden might be more at home in the Republican primary.

Campaigning in North Carolina Thursday, there was no mention of former vice president Joe Biden from Senator Elizabeth Warren despite a series of swipes between the two front runners.

Earlier, Joe Biden stated, “If you don’t agree with Elizabeth Warren, you must how… somehow be uh, not be a Democrat. You must somehow be corrupt. You must not be as smart as she.”

Then at a fundraiser, Biden continued to paint Warren as an elitist, never mentioning her name but declaring: “Now the people that are running against me tell me I’m naïve. One said I should be in the Republican primary, God love her.”

She started it, he says. But Biden was responding to what Warren had said when she released her plan to pay for Medicare For All, which Biden’s campaign called “mathematical gymnastics,” “sleight of hand,” and “double talk.”

Warren said, “If Joe Biden doesn’t like that, I’m just not sure where he’s going.”

Warren added Democrats will not win by repeating Republican talking points.

Elizabeth Warren said, “If anyone wants to defend keeping those high profits for insurance companies, and those high profits for drug companies, then I think they’re running in the wrong presidential primary.”

For Biden, it’s a shift in approach. A source close to Biden’s campaign told CNN it is no longer that “she is a liar.” It’s “Warren is a smarty britches who thinks if you don’t agree with her, you’re an idiot.”

The latest CNN poll shows a tight race nationally with Biden at 27% and warren at 23%. Warren is steadily rising. That’s not the case for Biden, who has made the pitch to voters that he can reach across the aisle to get things done and win over moderates.

Elizabeth Warren said, “We are in a time of crisis and Washington insiders and political pundits and even people in our own party, don’t want to admit it.”

Warren said she’s pushing for bold progressive change that is now the focus of sharpened criticism from Biden.

“It takes a lot more than plans,” Biden said. “We’re not electing a planner.”

Three months out from the Iowa caucus, Democratic voters are still deciding which approach could help them beat President Donald Trump in 2020.

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