Watching last Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, I was irritated by Elizabeth Warren's attack on Pete Buttigieg for having a fundraiser in a wine cave that featured a $900 bottle of wine.
It drives me crazy when Democrats expect absolute purity from their candidates, since Republicans, by contrast, tend to be pragmatists who do whatever it takes to win an election.
Buttigieg made this point after Warren attacked him, correctly pointing out that if Warren -- who is a millionaire herself -- donated $2,800 to his campaign, he certainly wouldn't be expected to do her bidding from that point on. He'd just be thankful for the contribution.
Further, today I was told a friend I had coffee with that the $900 bottle of wine is a fiction. Some Googling confirmed that what Warren said wasn't true.
First, there's an opinion piece in the Washington Post: "About Pete Buttigieg's wine cave dinner? I was there." Here's part of what an attendee said.
So where did the fictitious fable of a $900 bottle of wine come from? Here's part of a Slate story, "'Wine cave' attendee defends event as Warren says she learned from fundraising mistakes."
The owners of the “wine cave”—Craig and Kathryn Hall, who own the Hall Rutherford winery—also came to Buttigieg’s defense and say the fundraiser was misrepresented. “It seems someone’s intentionally trying to create a different image than the reality. And that’s unfortunate,” Craig Hall said. He also said that even though they do sell a bottle for around $900, it is extra large and equivalent to about four standard-size bottles. The winery’s most expensive wine costs around $350, and that’s not what they served at the fundraiser.
Thus the $900 bottle of wine wasn't served at the fundraiser, and even if it had been, the cost per normal bottle of wine would have been $225 -- since the $900 bottle is about as large as four usual bottles. That's a lot for a bottle of wine, but not a crazy amount (that said, I buy Trader Joe's $3.99 organic red wine, and it tastes fine to me).
I've donated to the Warren campaign, and still like her a lot. But this episode bothers me, since it shows that Ms. "I have a plan for that" is still prone to making factual mistakes that belie her reputation as someone who can be trusted to not act like a typical lying politician.
I'm about to send $100 off to the Buttigieg campaign. He's my wife's favorite candidate, and Mayor Pete is looking better to me after his recent debate performance. I definitely agree with this Buttigieg statement.
“We need to defeat Donald Trump,” he said, noting that Trump’s reelection campaign has already accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars. “We shouldn’t try to do it with one hand tied behind our back.”