Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Sunday that she doesn’t believe she and her fellow female senators running for president “would be standing on that stage if we had the experience” of Democratic candidate and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The Minnesota Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that while she believes Buttigieg is qualified, she sees herself as the better candidate.
“I’m the one from the Midwest that has actually won in a statewide race over and over again,” in part by attracting voters on the fence, Klobuchar said.
“Those are the kind of voters I’ve won and that is not true of Mayor Pete – that is just a fact,” Klobuchar continued. “I also am someone that has passed multiple bills as a lead Democrat, important bills in Washington, DC. He’s had a different experience.”
Klobuchar also addressed comments she made in June about Buttigieg’s qualifications in which she said if she and other female candidates had fewer qualifications, “I don’t think people would take us seriously.”
She told Tapper on Sunday, “Of the women on the stage – I’m focusing here on my fellow women senators, Sen. (Kamala) Harris, Sen. (Elizabeth) Warren and myself – do I think that we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don’t.”
“Maybe we’re held to a different standard,” she added. “But my goal is to get the best candidate to lead the ticket – I believe that’s me.”
Buttigieg was asked to address whether his gender boosted his qualifications during his bus tour in Iowa last weekend.
When asked whether a female, 37-year-old mayor of South Bend or a similar size city be given the same look from voters that Buttigieg initially received, he replied, “I don’t know.”
“I’ll say that if a female mayor from my generation from the industrial Midwest with the message and vision that I am putting forward and a war record and all the rest of it emerged, I would have thought twice about whether to compete with her or whether to just support her campaign.”
CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report.