(CNSNews.com) - Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg warned Wednesday that if the Democrats aren’t careful, they could wake up after Super Tuesday with “the two most polarizing figures on this stage" - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg - as the only candidates left in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Buttigieg also took shots at both candidates’ political leanings - Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist whose party affiliation is independent, and Bloomberg, a Republican turned Democrat.
Buttigieg: We’ve got to wake up as a party. We could wake up two weeks from today, the day after Super Tuesday, and the only candidates left standing will be Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg - the two most polarizing figures on this stage. And most Americans don't see where they fit if they’ve gotta choose between a socialist who thinks that capitalism is the root of all evil, and a billionaire that thinks power ought to be the root of all power. Let's put forward someone who's actually lives and works in a middle class neighborhood in an industrial Midwestern city. Let’s put forward somebody who’s actually a Democrat. Look -- we shouldn't have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another candidate who wants to buy this party out. We can do better.
MSNBC’s Lester Holt: Senator Sanders, are you polarizing?
Sanders: If speaking to the needs and the pain of a long neglected working class is polarizing, I think you got the wrong word. What we are trying finally to do is to give a voice to people who after 45 years of work are not making a nickel more than they did 45 years ago. We are giving a voice to people who are saying, we are sick and tired of billionaires like Mr. Bloomberg, seeing huge expansions of their wealth while a half a million people sleep out on the street tonight. And that’s what are saying, Pete, is maybe it's time for the working class for this country to have a little bit of power in Washington, rather than your billionaire campaign contributors.
Buttigieg: First of all. My campaign is fueled by hundreds of thousands of contributors.
Sanders: Including 46 billionaires.
Buttigieg: Among the hundreds of thousands of contributors. And look, we've got to unite this country to deal with these issues. You're not the only one who cares about the working class. Most Americans believe we need to empower workers. As a matter of fact, you're the one who is at war with the culinary union right here in Las Vegas.
Sanders: We have more union support than you’ve ever dreamed of. We have the support of unions all across this country.
Buttigieg: Yeah, the division I'm putting forward has the support of American people. We can actually deliver health care without taking it away from anyone. We can empower workers and lift wages without further polarizing this country, and we can build a movement without having legions of our supporters online and in person attacking Democratic figures and union leaders alike.