"Everyone’s going to come for Pete"

The South Bend, Ind., mayor, is riding his best poll numbers yet in Iowa and New Hampshire — running in a tight pack with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in many polls and even pulling into 10-point leads in recent surveys from The Des Moines Register and St. Anselm College. But that surge in the early states comes with the glare of additional scrutiny, including on his struggles appealing to African American voters in other states, and the growing likelihood of attacks from Democratic opponents eager to blunt Buttigieg’s rise and regain momentum of their own.

“Everyone’s going to come for Pete. There’s a target on his back — no question about it. That’s what happens when you jump in the polls,” said Jon Soltz, executive director of VoteVets, a progressive group that backs veterans for office but hasn’t endorsed in the presidential primary. “I know Pete and he will show he can take the heat and punch back.”…

“He’s going to feel like Elizabeth Warren did at the [October debate], like a pin cushion,” Dean added, noting that it was Buttigieg’s turn through the gauntlet, after Warren “acquitted herself well” in October, as her poll numbers were on the rise…

Buttigieg also took heat for the rollout of his Douglass Plan, when the campaign cited support from 400 South Carolinians in an op-ed released last month. Some of those listed said it gave the false impression that they were also endorsing Buttigieg the candidate for president, while others complained that they hadn’t actually endorsed the plan at all, The Intercept reported on Friday. The publication also found that not all the endorsers of the plan were African Americans, to which the campaign said it was “clear that not every supporter of the plan is Black, and have never claimed otherwise in any public communication.”