Klobuchar didn’t limit her criticism to Buttigieg on Thursday night. Turning to Sen. Bernie Sanders, she said a Democrat can be “progressive and practical at the same time,” criticizing him for his “Medicare for All” proposal and advocating for the country to build on the Affordable Care Act instead.

“The way I look at it, if you want to cross a river over some troubled waters, you build a bridge,” she said. “You don’t blow one up.”

But Buttigieg was Klobuchar’s prime target, reflecting the urgency of a campaign lagging behind the frontrunners both in Iowa and nationally and in desperate need of a spark.

“She is trying to take skin from Pete, who has the overall vote share lead in Iowa and is the one she needs to leapfrog to take on Biden in the moderate vote lane,” one Democratic strategist said. “She has to perform well in Iowa or bow out.”