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Pete Buttigieg. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The billionaire couple who hosted a December fundraising event for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in a California wine cave expressed their frustration with how they are being depicted, saying they are just political "pawns," The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday used the fundraising event to slam Buttigieg for taking campaign contributions from wealthy donors. Warren claimed politicians shouldn't be corrupted by money at the latest Democratic debate. Several 2020 hopefuls have shunned donations from wealthy individuals, PACs and lobbyists.

Who are the Halls: Craig and Kathryn Hall are the owners of the Hall Wines in Rutherford, California, a winery in Napa Valley.

  • Craig told the Times he made a chunk of his fortune in real estate when he started his own business at 18.
  • Kathryn is a lawyer and businesswoman, who previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Austria under former President Clinton after donating to his re-election campaign, the Times notes.
  • The couple has donated at least $2.4 million to Democratic candidates, committees and PACs since the 1980s.

What the Halls are saying:

  • They said caves are a common place to store wine in Napa Valley because of its ability to store wine at cool temperatures cost-efficiently, per AP.
  • The Halls also said the $900 bottle of wine that Warren said guests were served at the Buttigieg event is a misrepresentation of what the winery actually sells. It's actually one three-liter bottle, equivalent to four wine bottles. They added that this bottle was not served at the Buttigieg fundraiser, AP notes.
  • "It seems someone's intentionally trying to create a different image than the reality. And that's unfortunate," Hall told AP.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C. on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting covid.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."

Democrats release full text of Biden's $3.5T reconciliation package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday unveiled the full text of President Biden's $3.5 trillion social spending package.

Why it matters: Democrats are racing to finish negotiations and get the bill on the floor as soon as possible so Pelosi can fulfill her promises to both House centrists and progressives about the timing and sequencing of passing the party's dual infrastructure packages.

Biden pushes massive economic plan despite "stalemate"

President Biden speaking from the White House on Sept. 24. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday urged congressional Democrats to overcome differences surrounding his multi-trillion-dollar economic proposal but said he's still confident it will pass.

Why it matters: It's currently unclear how the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package will move forward with moderate and progressive Democrats in disagreement over critical portions of the legislation.