The knives were out for Amy Klobuchar even before she stepped into a Minnesota snowstorm to announce her run for the White House.
In what looked like a pre-emptive strike, the Huffington Post published allegations that the Minnesota senator had mistreated her staff.
The bad publicity continued with the New York Times airing a surreal story of how Ms Klobuchar ate a salad with her comb and then ordered a staffer to clean it.
If little else, the hostile media salvo served to show that the battle to be Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 will be every bit as fractious as that which accompanied the fight for the 2016 Republican nomination.
The interesting question is why the knives have come out so swiftly.
One reason might be that she could be seen as the candidate who can straddle the gulf between the progressive and establishment wings of the party and as such, poses a threat to some of her more celebrated rivals.
US election 2020 | Democrats running for President
"There is increasing tension between the different wings of the Democratic party – those on the left and those whose emphasis is on defeating Donald Trump," said Larry Jacobs, Professor of Politics at the University of Minnesota’ s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
"Her strength as a candidate is that she says she can do both.
"I have known her for 30 years. She is extremely smart and has quite a bit of ambition. I would not say she is a conviction politician like Elizabeth Warren, who has progressive values which she will stand by no matter what.
"Klobuchar has progressive values, but she also wants to win.
"She is not somebody who 30 years ago I would have described as entertaining. But she has worked hard and has a certain authenticity.
"Klobuchar comes from the heart of middle America. She is plain spoken and she uses self-deprecating humour and makes jokes about herself.
"I don’t think there is a candidate who will work harder than Amy Klobuchar.
"Hillary Clinton’s mistake was she ran a campaign from an office building. Amy Klobuchar will turn up for work every day. She is hard driving and tough."
Ms Klobuchar, 56, entered the Senate in 2007. Educated at Yale and the University of Chicago, she had served as an attorney for Hennepin County, the biggest public law office in her native Minnesota.
Her family background was tough. Her father, Jim, was an alcoholic. Her parents separated and then reconciled.
She is married to law professor John Bressler. They have one daughter, Abigail, who was born with a condition which meant she had to be fed through a tube for three years.
Her early academic and professional career were garlanded with awards, both at Yale and later as a lawyer. In the Senate, her voting record is pretty impeccable from a liberal point of view.
Politically Ms Klobuchar ticks many of the progressive boxes, from universal health care to opposing the Iraq war and standing up for women’s and LGBT rights.
She has also made the right noises over climate change, promising that she would rejoin the Paris Climate accord on her first day as president.
But she has not completely signed up to the plea for a "Green New Deal", describing the left’s cherished initiative as "aspirational". She has also voiced doubts that the US can afford to offer free college tuition.
In Washington, she is seen as a moderate, even though her voting record was almost identical to that of Al Franken. Her fellow Minnesotan senator, who stood down amid allegations of sexual harassment, was seen as a left-wing firebrand.
The Democrat tribes fighting it out for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination
Some analysts believe Ms Klobuchar’s moderation and willingness to work across the aisle with Republicans could blot her copybook with the Democrat left.
"She is not afraid to embrace middle of the road positions and be blunt about it," said Brandon Barford, a partner at Washington DC-based political analysts, Beacon Policy Advisors.
"This will be challenging for her when she is on a debate stage and is the only one, or one of a few, not raising her hand in support of more progressive priorities.
"She could have a challenge appealing to much of the Democratic Party that is preoccupied with identity politics compared to her peer candidates, based on being a white woman as well as her more moderate political views."
Steve Jarding, a veteran Democrat operative and a lecturer in public policy at the Harvard School of Government, believes raising the cash for a lengthy and costly primary campaign could be a challenge.
"The issue for her will be money – can she raise enough to get past June 30 and on to the end of the year and Iowa.
"That is a big ‘if’ – but because she is from neighbouring Minnesota and knows agriculture and is one of only a few with such credentials, she might be able to lay down a marker in the Hawkeye state. "I do believe that with other women in the race who are much more proven fundraisers, she may get forced out of the top tiers."
His view is shared by Prof Jacobs.
"Once the campaign gets going she will have to battle hard for votes. She won’t be able to coast like Beto O’Rourke, who has millions of dollars in campaign funds.
"Once she lands in Iowa she will have to get into the leading group of candidates. If she doesn’t secure that she will be gone."