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POST TIME: 3 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Democrat candidate Biden slips, Beto quits, Warren answers critics
AFP, Washington

Democrat candidate Biden slips, Beto quits, Warren answers critics

From (L to R) Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke. AFP Photo

Joe Biden’s standing in the Democratic presidential nomination battle has slipped in Iowa against top rivals including Elizabeth Warren, the frontrunner in the early-voting state, who on Friday answered critics over how she will pay for her progressive policies.

As the 2020 protagonists clashed, one of the lower-polling Democratic candidates who started the contest with considerable promise, ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke, announced he was quitting the race.

O’Rourke’s exit provided the latest dynamic in the crowded race to see who will challenge US President Donald Trump in November 2020. Warren, who had been under fire for not explaining how she would pay for her universal health care proposal, took the risky political gamble of unveiling a $20.5 trillion Medicare for All plan.

How to pay for expanding and improving health care has become a flashpoint of the Democratic race, with Warren and her fellow progressive Senator Bernie Sanders pushing a sweeping transition to universal health care and the centrist Biden seeking to build on the existing Obamacare system.

Biden, the former vice president and longtime frontrunner in the national race, led for months in Iowa but that commanding lead has eroded since September.

He suddenly finds himself in fourth position in the heartland state that votes first in the Democratic nomination, according to The New York Times/Siena College poll out Friday, following the rise of Warren, a continued solid showing by Sanders, and a significant upswing by small-town mayor Pete Buttigieg.