MANCHESTER, N.H. It was still early, not even 9:30 p.m., but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren could see the handwriting on the wall. “I wasn’t going to crack 15%, so I picked up the phone and called Amy to congratulate her for showing America that people will vote for a woman, just not one as annoying as me.”
“Keep smiling, and don’t mention the shiv I’m holding against your ribs.”
When the call came in to the New Hampshire campaign headquarters of Amy Klobuchar, Warren’s Senate counterpart from Minnesota, the two women chatted amiably for a few moments. Then Klobuchar ended the pleasantries and made an offer she didn’t think the other distaff candidate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination was likely to refuse. “Drop out now,” Klobuchar said with the steely voice she once used to order an aide to push a peanut around her campaign headquarters with his nose, “or I will drink blood from your skull like a Bloody Mary at a Harvard Square brunch.”
“Talk about unelectable–a red Chairman Mao jacket!”
Warren was taken aback, said “Thanks for the offer,” and added she’d “think about it,” but Klobuchar was having none of her opponent’s prim diffidence. “Either that,” she explained, “or I will crush you like a bug just to watch the juice run out.”
The Klobuchar-Warren duo is the first pair of women to face each other in a presidential primary race, and predictions that the double-x chromosome set would be their own worst enemies when that eventuality came to pass have proven true, as the two have sparred on the debate stage and behind the scenes over healthcare, abortion, and hair-care products.
“Seriously, I think you look great in magenta!”
“mAsSacHUsetTS liBErals are unElEctAble!” Klobuchar wrote on the wall of a stall in the women’s room outside the the cocktail lounge at the Granite State Motor Inn, adding underneath it “Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, Romney–YOU’RE NEXT!” Warren countered with a blast-fax to rural media outlets that said “Minnesota: Really a state or what?” and warned reporters they would be risking their lives covering a woman who has been known to throw a variety of office supplies at her staff, including three-ring binders, tape dispensers, and heavy-duty paper trimmers.
Klobuchar has denied some of the wilder tales about her temper, claiming a story that she ate a salad with a comb, then forced an aide to clean the comb, was both false and exaggerated. “Why would I do that?” she asked as an advance man painted her toenails. “All of my campaign staff are happy to peel grapes and feed them to me.”