Buttigieg says he didn't mean to predict a two-way race with Warren

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE, a Democratic presidential hopeful, is walking back previous comments he made saying the Democratic primary could turn into a two-way race between him and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) after facing criticism from other contenders in the race. 

“I don’t remember the exact context,” Buttigieg told reporters in Iowa on Saturday, referring to comments he originally made on Showtime’s “The Circus” indicating that he saw the large Democratic field shrinking to a “two-way” race between himself and the Massachusetts senator.  

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The mayor on Saturday added that he did not think the comments came out right before emphasizing the strength of the other contenders in the race. 

“Look, the bottom line is this is a really strong competition among really strong campaigns,” he said. 

Buttigieg on Monday was asked again about his two-way race comments in an appearance on CNN, answering that he was “not going to comment on the other campaigns.” 

The mayor faced pushback for the comments over the weekend, notably from Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.), who called the remarks “naive.” 

“Well, I think … that it’s naive for him to think that at this point, that the fate of this election has been determined,” she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Just look at history. You might need to review to know that what’s happening right now is not necessarily determinative of the outcome.”

Buttigieg has risen in recent Iowa polls, polling in the top four with Warren, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.). 

In addition to gaining traction in polls, Buttigieg has also exchanged jabs with Warren. 

Buttigieg knocked Warren’s “Medicare for All” plan as a “my way or the highway” approach on Sunday. 

“What is just not true is that hers is the only solution. This ‘my way or the highway’ idea. That either you’re for kicking everybody off their private plans in four years or you’re for business as usual, it’s just not true,” Buttigieg said on ABC’s “This Week.”

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