ATLANTA — Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday tore into Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at the Democratic presidential debate, accusing her of spending too much time criticizing President Obama and cozying up to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
Though she didn’t mention Ms. Gabbard by name, Ms. Harris said the Hawaii congresswoman “buddied up” to Mr. Bannon to try to secure an early meeting with the president in Trump Tower and that she has failed to call Syrian leader Bashar Assad a “war criminal.”
“And then spends full-time during the course of this campaign, again, criticizing the Democratic party,” said Ms. Harris, California Democrat.
“What we need on the stage in November is someone who has the ability to win, and by that we need someone on that stage who has the ability to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump and someone who has the ability to rebuild the Obama coalition and bring the party and the nation together,” she said.
Ms. Harris also said the Hawaii congresswoman spent much of Mr. Obama’s time in office criticizing the former president on Fox News.
Ms. Gabbard shot back that Ms. Harris is trafficking in “lies and smears and innuendoes.”
“She cannot challenge the substance of the argument that I’m making, the leadership and the change that I’m seeking to bring in our foreign policy,” she said.
Ms. Gabbard said she suspected Ms. Harris would continue the “Bush-Clinton-Trump” foreign policy of “regime change wars.”
“No, I’m not going to put party interest[s] first - I will put the American people above all else,” she said.
Ms. Gabbard had confronted Ms. Harris at a previous debate about her past record as a prosecutor. Both candidates have been registering in the single digits in much of the recent polling on the race.