Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg were the debate’s two winners

Buttigieg’s fundraising practices — he (gasp) not only takes money from rich people but even goes to fundraisers they attend — was a particular target. Without naming him, Warren offered a barb about candidates people who “suck up to billionaires;” Sanders noted that he himself didn’t have “40 billionaires” contributing to his campaign. On other fronts, Klobuchar scolded Buttigieg for a campaign-trail comment he made about impeachment fatigue; Biden questioned the national value of his mayoral experience.

The problem for all of them, however, is this: Buttigieg is one cool customer, a candidate who really doesn’t get ruffled. He’s also adept at counter-arguments. Democrats were going into the fight of their lives against Donald Trump, he said, and that required a politics “defined not by who we reject but by bringing everyone into the fold.” Which is to say: Sorry, purists, billionaires welcome here. “This is a time for addition, not subtraction,” he added.

Another line of attack: He wasn’t tough or experienced enough to withstand the predictable onslaught from Trump. Alas for his rivals, by deftly countering their arguments, Buttigieg showed himself at least as able as they at campaign combat.

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