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Biden, Buttigieg and Sanders debate in Sept. 2019 in Houston, Texas. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden released an attack ad on former Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg Saturday that disparaged Buttigieg for firing South Bend’s first black police chief, which Buttigieg claims he was pressured by federal prosecutors to do.

Driving the news: Democratic candidates held an extensive discussion on race in New Hampshire's debate on Friday. Buttigieg said he "took a lot of heat for discussing systemic racism" with his police department, and Biden said politicians should "stop taking the black community for granted."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Alexi McCammond: Biden is unrestrained now that his campaign is flailing. He's spent the majority of the primary focused on Trump, but that's blown up after Buttigieg's Iowa win and expected upswing in New Hampshire.

  • Biden's only primary hope is to do well in Nevada and South Carolina because he's enjoyed strong support from black voters nationally.
  • Buttigieg has struggled to gain traction with black and brown voters, which could hurt his performance in those states. But, winning begets more winning, and coming out on top in Iowa will give him momentum heading into Super Tuesday.

What they're saying: "The Vice President’s decision to run this ad speaks more to where he currently stands in this race than it does about Pete’s perspective as a mayor and veteran," Buttigieg's national press secretary said in a statement on Saturday.

  • “Bringing it up now is better than later — because it’s the same thing Trump would bring up,” Jim Blanchard, a former Michigan governor and a Biden surrogate, told Axios. He added that Trump would raise it in a “worse” way.

Flashback: Buttigieg said he welcomes "the challenge" of attracting black voters at the 5th Democratic debate and said he could relate to the fight for civil rights through his experience as a gay man.

  • Biden was under fire at the first debate for his comments about working with segregationist senators and opposing federally mandated busing that integrated schools in the 1970s.

The bottom line: Biden maintains a significant polling lead among black voters overall, compared to other candidates.

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats are ready to talk about racial inequality

Go deeper

10 mins ago - World

Former spy Steele defends controversial Trump Russia dossier

Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London in July 2020. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The author of the "Steele Dossier," containing unverified claims about former President Trump told ABC News he stands by his controversial report, according to excerpts from an upcoming documentary published Sunday.

Why it matters: Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele's dossier was used as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia's government.

Ina Fried, author of Login
4 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children are among a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, per a statement from Christian Aid Ministries Sunday.

The latest: "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," the Ohio-based group said. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne on Sunday identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.