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Kamala Harris attacked 2020 rival Tulsi Gabbard as a traitor to the Democratic party Wednesday night, accusing her of 'buddying up' to Steve Bannon and spending 'four years on Fox News criticizing President Obama.'
Harris, who has been struggling in the polls, used two of her party's favorite bogeymen – and its last president - to hammer at the Hawaii congresswoman, building on an attack first made by Hillary Clinton, who accused Gabbard of being a favorite of 'the Russians.'
Harris went after the Army veteran in one of the first signs of fireworks during the fifth debate in the party's primary cycle, which was largely marked by a lack of attacks and a recitation of policy positions and attacks on Trump.
The California senator turned on Gabbard when she said she would end current foreign policy and bring home troops, in response to a question about Clinton's attack on her.
'I think that it's unfortunate that we have someone on this stage that is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama. Who has been full time criticizing people on this stage as affiliated with the Democratic Party,' Harris said from the Atlanta, Georgia debate stage.
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The fifth Democratic debate kicked off at 9pm EST Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia. The candidates participating are (from left to right): Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobucher, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer
Senator Kamala Harris (right) attempted to paint her 2020 Democratic competitor Tulsi Gabbard (left) as anti-Obama when speaking about the Hawaii congresswoman's criticism of those within the party
Pete Buttigieg earned the No. 1 spot with 25 per cent support in two recent polls in the respective states, bypassing frontrunners Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
And Harris doubled down on her attack with a reference of a 'war criminal,' which appears to have been Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator who Gabbard has met despite the civil war raging in his country and atrocities committed by his forces.
'When Donald Trump was elected, not even sworn in, buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump in the Trump Tower, fails to call a war criminal by what he is - as a war criminal. And then spends full time during the course of this campaign, again, criticizing the Democratic Party.'
The jab prompted Gabbard to accuse Harris of pursuing a 'Bush-Clinton-Trump policy of regime change.'
'What Senator Harris is doing is unfortunately is continuing to traffic in lies and smears and innuendos because 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, which only makes me guess that she will as president continue the status quo, continue the Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy of regime change wars, which is deeply destructive,' Gabbard said.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
'This is personal to me because I served in Iraq. I left