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2020 contender Pete Buttigieg told CNN on Sunday that Beto O'Rourke's remark of "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15" plays into the hands of Republicans on gun control.

O'Rourke's Twitter response: "Leaving millions of weapons of war on the streets because Trump and McConnell are 'at least pretending to be open to reforms'? That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place. Let’s have the courage to say what we believe and fight for it."

CNN'S JAKE TAPPER: 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke raised some eyebrows by saying, 'Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,' at the debate. Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware who has endorsed Biden, he has responded by saying this: 'That clip will be played for years at second amendment rallies for organizations who try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns.' Do you agree? Did Beto O'Rourke say something that's playing into the hands of Republicans?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes. Look, right now, we have an amazing moment on our hands. We have agreement among the American people for not just universal background checks, we have a majority in favor of red flag laws, high-capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons. This is a golden moment to finally do something, because we've been arguing about this for as long as I've been alive. When even this president and even Mitch McConnell are at least pretending to be open to reforms, we know that we have a moment on our hands. Let's make the most of it and get these things done.

Why it matters: The candidates' clash represents a growing rift within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives, who are increasingly finding themselves misaligned on issues including health care, immigration and approaches to legislating.

What they're saying: On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, O'Rourke also said he refuses to acknowledge the "politics or the polling" on AR-15s, stating Democratic backlash "just shows you how screwed up the priorities in Washington, D.C., are."

Go deeper: Democrats' watershed moment on guns

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker