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“Some of the early Biden support was name recognition, some was familiarity, some was affection and respect,” said Kurt Meyer, the Democratic Party chairman of Mitchell County, Iowa. “But much of it had to be renewed and extended, much as one would renew a thick book at the local library, for it to last until early February.”
That has left many of the remaining 13 candidates scrambling for attention, relevance and desperately needed campaign dollars.
Much of the debate among the quartet of top contenders this weekend centered around Ms. Warren’s long-awaited, $20.5 trillion proposal explaining how she would fund “Medicare for All,” which she released on Friday.
“Let’s get real, the numbers,” said Mr. Biden, at a campaign office opening in Des Moines on Saturday morning. “The idea that she can get the costs down to $20 trillion is, I don’t know, I mean, look, even $20 trillion, where’s she get the money?”
For Ms. Warren, it was the beginning of a crucial stretch during which she would be compelled to sell her new plan to voters. Though not all of her supporters had familiarized themselves with the details on Saturday morning, many seemed inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.
“She is passionate about what she’s saying,” said Renee Lapan-Islas, 50, who came to see Ms. Warren speak in Vinton, Iowa. “We struggle for money at times because of health care.”
But Ms. Warren also faced a skeptical question from a voter with Type 1 diabetes, who expressed concern about the continuity of care under Ms. Warren’s proposed transition to “Medicare for all.”