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Pete Buttigieg

D

Twitter Followers: 3M

Mayor (South Bend, IN) - At-Large (2012 - Present)

Quick Facts
Personal Details

Pete Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, winning election in 2011 and 2015. He announced he was running for president of the United States on January 23, 2019. He suspended his presidential campaign on March 1, 2020. Buttigieg endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on March 2, 2020.

Buttigieg was also a 2017 candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He announced his candidacy for DNC chair on January 5, 2017. Buttigieg withdrew his candidacy prior to the first round of voting at the DNC meeting on February 25, 2017.

Buttigieg also served as the president of the Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus.

Buttigieg was born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1982. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and literature from Harvard University. He also studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar.

From 2007 to 2010, Buttigieg worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, specializing in economic development, business, logistics, and energy initiatives for government and private sector clients. Before his own bids for public office, Buttigieg worked for the campaigns of presidential candidate John Kerry (2004) as a research director and Indiana gubernatorial candidate Jill Long Thompson (2008) as an advisor. He became a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009.

Buttigieg ran for treasurer of Indiana as a Democrat in 2010, losing in the general election to Richard Mourdock (R). The following year, he won the South Bend mayoral election with 74% of the vote. At the age of 29, he was the youngest mayor of a city with more than 100,000 residents. In 2014, he took a leave of absence as mayor and completed a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his contributions to counterterrorism. In 2015, during his re-election campaign, Buttigieg came out as gay in a column in a local paper. He was re-elected mayor in 2015 with 80% of the vote.

Buttigieg was a candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2017 but withdrew his candidacy before a vote was held. He previously served as president of the Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus and on the boards of directors of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and the Truman National Security Project.

Education

  • BA, Philosophy/Politics/Economics, Oxford University, 2005-2007
  • BA, History and Literature, Harvard University, 2000-2004

Professional Experience

  • BA, Philosophy/Politics/Economics, Oxford University, 2005-2007
  • BA, History and Literature, Harvard University, 2000-2004
  • Fellow, Truman National Security Project, 2005-present
  • Lieutenant, United States Navy Reserve, 2009-2017
  • Associate, McKinsey & Company, 2007-2010
  • Advisor, Hoosiers for Jill Long Thompson for Governor, 2008
  • Conference Director, The Cohen Group, 2004-2005
  • Research Director (Arizona), John Kerry for President, 2004
  • Intern, NBC 5 News, 2003
  • Intern, Jill Long Thompson for Congress, 2002

Political Experience

  • BA, Philosophy/Politics/Economics, Oxford University, 2005-2007
  • BA, History and Literature, Harvard University, 2000-2004
  • Fellow, Truman National Security Project, 2005-present
  • Lieutenant, United States Navy Reserve, 2009-2017
  • Associate, McKinsey & Company, 2007-2010
  • Advisor, Hoosiers for Jill Long Thompson for Governor, 2008
  • Conference Director, The Cohen Group, 2004-2005
  • Research Director (Arizona), John Kerry for President, 2004
  • Intern, NBC 5 News, 2003
  • Intern, Jill Long Thompson for Congress, 2002
  • Mayor, City of South Bend, Indiana, 2012-2020
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Candidate, Indiana State Treasurer, 2010

Religious, Civic, and other Memberships

  • BA, Philosophy/Politics/Economics, Oxford University, 2005-2007
  • BA, History and Literature, Harvard University, 2000-2004
  • Fellow, Truman National Security Project, 2005-present
  • Lieutenant, United States Navy Reserve, 2009-2017
  • Associate, McKinsey & Company, 2007-2010
  • Advisor, Hoosiers for Jill Long Thompson for Governor, 2008
  • Conference Director, The Cohen Group, 2004-2005
  • Research Director (Arizona), John Kerry for President, 2004
  • Intern, NBC 5 News, 2003
  • Intern, Jill Long Thompson for Congress, 2002
  • Mayor, City of South Bend, Indiana, 2012-2020
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Candidate, Indiana State Treasurer, 2010
  • Chair, Automation and the Impacts on America's Cities Task Force, United States Conference of Mayors, present
  • Board Member, Truman National Security Project, present
  • Board Member, United States Conference of Mayors, present
  • Co-Founder, Democratic Renaissance Project
  • President, Harvard Institute of Politics
  • Former President, Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus
  • Former President, Northern Indiana Mayors Roundtable
  • Performer, South Bend Symphony Orchestra

Other Info

— Awards:

  • New Frontier Award (John F. Kennedy Library Foundation & Harvard University Institute of Politics, 2015)
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Awards (U.S. Department of Transportation Mayors' Challenge, 2016)
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal

  • 2 Dogs: Truman, Buddy

2019


Elections

2020

Presidency

An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. Buttigieg announced he was running for president on January 23, 2019. He suspended his presidential campaign on March 1, 2020.

2017

The more than 400 members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) selected a new chair to succeed interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile in February 2017. Buttigieg announced his candidacy for the position on January 5, 2017.

"I can’t think of something more meaningful than organizing the opposition in the face of what I think will be a pretty monstrous presidency and challenging time out here in the states,” Buttigieg told The New York Times. "Sitting back and waiting for the map and demographics to save us—that’s not going to be enough.”

Buttigieg withdrew his candidacy prior to the first round of voting at the DNC meeting on February 25, 2017. Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was elected DNC chairman on the second round of voting with 235 votes.

2015

Buttigieg won re-election as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

2011

Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in 2011 and assumed office on January 1, 2012. At the age of 29, he was the youngest mayor of a city with more than 100,000 residents in the nation.

2010

Buttigieg was a Democratic candidate for Indiana treasurer in 2010, but he lost in the general election to former State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R).

Policy Positions

2020

Abortion

Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

Budget

1. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

2. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
- Yes

Education

Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- Unknown Position

Energy & Environment

1. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

2. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
- Yes

Guns

Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- Yes

Health Care

Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- No

Campaign Finance

Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

Economy

1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

2. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No

Immigration

1. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
- No

2. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

National Security

1. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
- Unknown Position

2. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
- Yes

Trade

1. Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- Unknown Position

Defense

Do you support increasing defense spending?
- Unknown Position

2019

Afghanistan

Would you commit to the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of your first term, or would you require certain conditions be met before doing so?

- I’ve seen first-hand the costs of our long conflict in Afghanistan. It’s time to end this endless war. The only question is do we do it well or poorly.

Our objective has remained the same throughout this conflict: ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a base for terrorist attacks against the US or its allies. A negotiated peace agreement in which we maintain a relevant special operations/intelligence presence but bring home our ground troops is the best way to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a base for terrorist attacks against the United States or its allies. Using our current presence to help lock in a peace agreement should be part of that strategy.

Trade

1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the United States joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

- I would not support the US joining the current CPTPP. It lacks critical trade provisions on labor, environment, and the digital economy, and does not align closely enough with the needs and interests of American workers. We must address failures in delivering on the social compact here at home. For too long, Washington sold trade deal after trade deal with the promise that a rising tide would lift all boats. It hasn’t — in part because it wasn’t accompanied by investment here at home — and Washington failed those left behind.

A lot of Americans just don’t trust the government to negotiate trade deals in their best interest. We need an honest national discussion about trade. Our work must begin at home. At the same time, we should not surrender the world’s fastest growing markets in Asia to other nations. It is where China wants to dominate and is buying influence through their Belt and Road initiative. China is negotiating broad new trade agreements with their neighbors that favor China’s economy and workers. These agreements also enshrine non-democratic principles at the expense of the US and free people. Sitting on the sidelines is a losing proposition for America.

We cannot just put up walls around our economy. We need to be setting the rules of the road for the future, so that strategic and economic competition with China happens on our terms.

China

How, if at all, should China’s treatment of the Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong affect broader U.S. policy toward China?

- The Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment of the Uighurs and other minorities, and growing pressure on Hong Kong, are symptomatic of a broader, and intensifying, “systems” competition. Beijing seems committed to consolidating and legitimizing authoritarian capitalism as an alternative to the democratic capitalism embraced by the United States and its closest allies and partners.

Where necessary and feasible, we should seek cooperation with Beijing, such as in addressing climate disruption, maintaining strategic stability, combatting terrorism, and managing conflict through international peacekeeping. But the United States must defend our fundamental values, core interests, and critical alliances, and accept that this will often entail friction with China.

For too long we have underestimated China’s ambitions, while overestimating our ability to shape them. We must instead focus on repairing our democracy and reinvesting in our economic and technological competitiveness; inoculating open societies from corrupt, coercive, or covert political interference; strengthening, rather than straining, our alliances in order to put collective pressure on China for unfair economic practices, human rights abuses, and intimidation of countries that stand up for their sovereignty; realigning defense and other national security investments to reflect China’s military modernization and full-spectrum statecraft; and reducing vulnerabilities from economic interdependence by disentangling the most sensitive sectors of our economies--in an orderly, not chaotic, fashion--and ensuring that American and allied resources and technologies do not underpin authoritarian oppression and surveillance.

Iran

Would you rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What changes to the existing agreement, if any, would you require before agreeing to rejoin the accord?

- I have been clear: walking away from the JCPOA was a strategic mistake. We didn’t develop the deal as a favor to Iran; we did it because it was in our national security interest. The deal represented a detailed and verifiable arrangement that permanently prohibited Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And the JCPOA was effective: Iran was upholding its commitments, as confirmed repeatedly by international inspectors and our own intelligence community, when President Trump withdrew from it. Walking away from the JCPOA also cost us credibility and the trust of our partners, hindering our ability to work with allies to solve difficult collective challenges.

We should have no illusions about the reality that Iran poses challenges to U.S. interests beyond its nuclear program: its ballistic missile program, malign behavior in the region, threats to our ally Israel, and human rights abuses. But having the JCPOA in place created a foundation from which we could begin addressing those concerns, all of which will be even more intractable if we lack a mechanism to verifiably and permanently prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

If Iran resumes implementing its commitments, then I would rejoin. But I would take the agreement as a floor, not a ceiling. I would revive P5+1 diplomacy and direct US-Iran dialogue at the appropriate levels and would want to pursue follow-on agreements that extend the timeframe of certain nuclear restrictions, cover Iran’s missile program, and address its role in regional conflicts, all in return for targeted sanctions relief.

North Korea

Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?

- We have to accept that denuclearization will not happen overnight and will require a sustained, step-by-step approach spanning a significant number of years. It is unrealistic to think that the North Koreans will get rid of their entire nuclear weapons stockpile at the outset. I believe the most realistic way to get there is a framework for complete, verifiable denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula that is comprehensive in scope, with steps on both fronts implemented step-by-step and in tandem.

I would support an initial freeze agreement that would have North Korea cease production of fissile material and end nuclear and missile testing, all verified by international inspectors, in exchange for targeted sanctions relief, which could be reversed if the North Koreans did not uphold their end of the bargain. After this initial deal, we would need to proceed toward dismantling facilities and then the weapons themselves. This could be accompanied with corresponding measures on sanctions relief, as well as substantive progress on building a lasting peace regime and normalizing relations. It has to be a two-way street. The only way to achieve complete denuclearization is to recognize that we have to address the core issues of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula in tandem, and that will require concrete steps on both sides.

Ukraine

What, if any, steps would you take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?

- Russian aggression against Ukraine is an attack on the agreed principles and rules of European and global order that protect global citizens beyond Ukraine, including Americans. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is protected by the UN Charter and European security agreements, which the Russian Federation has signed and is obligated to respect. The OSCE mission and Minsk agreement both obligate Russia to resolve the conflict peacefully with Ukraine. We must keep tough, targeted, and effective economic and financial sanctions on Russia as long as it continues to assault Ukrainian territory and citizens, and continues to illegally occupy Ukrainian territory in the Donbas and Crimea.

But countering Russian aggression also means supporting Ukraine’s independence and ability to make and implement sovereign foreign policy decisions by supporting Ukraine’s political, economic, and defense capabilities. Although Ukraine is not a formal treaty ally, the U.S. should be willing to help Ukraine develop a modern and capable defense force to defend its citizens, including advice, education, training, and willingness to consider commercial sales of weapons appropriate to the situation. While the US must not exacerbate instability or conflict, we should not shy from responsible defense assistance to a democracy in the heart of Europe that is under assault because its citizens have chosen a democratic European path.

Saudi Arabia

Given the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen, what changes, if any, would you make to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?

- The United States must halt military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. The brutal war has brought the country to the verge of famine and killed tens of thousands of civilians. As president, I would suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia that could be used in the Yemen war, but also cut off the spare parts and maintenance for equipment needed to prolong that war. Ending our own involvement in the war in Yemen is just a first step. We need to increase our diplomatic efforts and work with our allies to end the conflict itself, which has generated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and helped to spread extremism.

We must also reset our relationship with Saudi Arabia, so that our interests and values drive the relationship -- not the other way around. Our strongest alliances must be founded upon shared commitments to international law and human rights. We must be pragmatic about intelligence-sharing: totally stopping such cooperation could hinder our ability to detect and thwart threats emanating from Yemen, including from the regional al-Qaeda affiliate. But the Saudi government should not get a pass on the state-sponsored murder of an American resident abroad, nor should they be able to buy our silence on human rights abuses -- including killing civilians in Yemen and supporting extremist ideology across the Muslim world -- through purchases of US weapons.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, if so, how would you go about trying to achieve it?

- Yes, I do support a two-state solution. The US alliance with Israel and support for Israel’s security have long been fundamental tenets of US national security policy, and they will remain so if I am elected President. But this is not a zero-sum game. The security of Israel and the aspirations of the Palestinian people are fundamentally interlinked. To visit the West Bank and Gaza is to understand the fundamental need for a two-state solution which addresses the economic, security and moral rights of both Israelis and of the Palestinians who live there.

I have clearly and strongly stated my support for the security of Israel, and I have also said that I disagree with policies being carried out by the current Israeli administration. This includes overreach in the West Bank and Gaza and short-sighted focus on military responses. The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza has gone on far too long and provides a ripe environment for the very extremist violence that threatens Israel.

The United States needs to put its arm around the shoulder of its ally, Israel, and help it to develop policies that will work towards the economic and security benefit of both Israel and the Palestinians. Both Israeli and Palestinian citizens should be able to enjoy the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear of rocket attacks or other violence, and to work to achieve economic well-being for their families. A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward.

Venezuela

What, if any, additional steps should the United States take to remove Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela?

- Maduro is responsible for the humanitarian crisis that has seen more than four million Venezuelans flee their country. Endemic corruption, pervasive criminality among top officials, and systematic human rights abuses all reinforce the fact that the Maduro regime has lost the legitimacy to govern, and I stand behind Juan Guaidó as the rightful interim president. Our end state in Venezuela is a peaceful transfer of power to an interim constitutional government followed by free and fair elections. Because the refugee situation and Venezuela's imploding economy are impacting the entire hemisphere, the U.S. government should respond in concert with our regional allies, who are shouldering the heavy burden of a large Venezuelan diaspora. Together, we also need to address the Russian, Chinese and Cuban interference now complicating an effective transition.

In this vein, I support recent efforts to negotiate a settlement between the regime and Guaidó; such talks can be the best route to a managed transition. I would also continue to apply targeted sanctions against regime officials -- but broad economic sanctions, such as those pursued by the Trump administration, run the risk of hurting innocent Venezuelans already face crippling food and medicine shortages and enabling the Maduro regime to promote the false narrative that the U.S. is responsible for the country's misery. I also would support extending Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans currently residing in the United States until the crisis is resolved.

Africa

By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?

- Africa is not a country, it is a diverse and multifaceted continent of states with rich and proud histories, great successes, and significant and varied challenges. On that continent, the winds of change are sweeping aside old regimes and certitudes. In Algeria, a new generation has risen up against a sclerotic government. In Sudan, women have led a revolt against a criminal one. And in Ethiopia, we have seen what can look like when hope triumphs over hostility.

By 2025, nearly one-fifth of the world’s population will live in the nations of a rising Africa--60 percent of whose people are now under the age of 25. Our priorities should include cooperation on helping our African partners manage that population growth: accountable governance, climate change mitigation and conflict prevention.

We must also prioritize building shared prosperity that can assist new generations in having a viable and productive future. That continent now boasts some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, which have lifted millions out of poverty and into the global marketplace. Sub-Saharan Africa represents one of the biggest opportunities for new markets for US goods and investment. And as African peoples demand greater accountability and transparency from their leaders, the United States must stand ready to put our values into action, to promote empowerment alongside economic engagement.

Climate

How would you discourage the proliferation of coal-fired power plants in developing countries?

- The US needs to lead the way in the global exit of coal-fired power— a process already underway. First, as President, I will quadruple clean energy research and development in the US and enact additional policies to support the deployment of renewables, storage, carbon capture and energy efficiency in homes and building retrofits. Second, I would also convene local leaders from across the globe at a Pittsburgh Climate Summit to commit to decisive action within their communities and create local initiatives to deploy clean energy policy and technologies that will continue to drive down the price of clean energy and move on from coal. Third, the US will work through global institutions to reduce and end global fossil fuel subsidies, many of which have unfairly favored coal, starting at home. Finally, the US can leverage trade agreements to reduce the amount of coal funded through China's Belt and Road initiative.

U.S. Foreign Policy

What has been the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of the United States since World War II? What has been the biggest mistake?

- After intense political debates in the years after WWII between isolationists and internationalists, I believe America’s greatest foreign policy accomplishment has been our leadership of global efforts to promote the values that animate our own and other great democracies, to the benefit of the security and freedom of our people. From the design, implementation and success of the Marshall Plan to the fall of the Soviet Union, our leadership – until recently – has been based not only on our power but also on the ideals of America and our allies.

Our biggest mistake has been the failure to use our leadership more vigorously in key areas of international change: to bend the benefits of globalization more equitably to improving the everyday lives of poor and middle-class citizens, especially women and minorities, in our own and other nations; to combat climate change and nuclear proliferation; and to stand strong against the recent surge of anti-democratic forces around the world. I often think of how the resources used for unnecessary, prolonged wars that were not in our interest could have been used in addressing these issues to the benefit of our own people and the entire world.

Speeches
Articles

Anti-Sanders Coalition Forms as Buttigieg, Klobuchar Back Biden

Mar. 3, 2020

For them, it is over. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg suspended their campaigns, packed their things late Monday, and prepared to end their feud. The also-ran candidates’ bickering stopped in Dallas where they endorsed fellow moderate Joe Biden for president. And that hasty peace is the latest evidence of an emerging binary choice in the Democratic primary: Bernie Sanders is the man to beat while Joe Biden is quickly becoming the establishment horse to back as voters in 14 states cast their Super Tuesday votes. Buttigieg went first. “I’m delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden,” the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., told a small crowd at an appearance outside a Dallas restaurant Monday evening. “He is somebody of such extraordinary grace and kindness and empathy.” Klobuchar went next. "He can bring our country together and build that coalition of that fired-up Democratic base as well as independents as well as moderate Republicans. Because we do not, in our party, want to eke by with a victory. We want to win big," the Minnesota senator said at a Biden rally Monday night. The two failed contenders didn’t share the same stage, but together they stirred up a whole lot of emotions -- some more positive than others. Biden and his supporters were already ecstatic after dominating the South Carolina primary. The endorsements, then, were icing on the cake. “The consolidation is clearly happening,” Matt Bennett, president of the centrist group Third Way, told RealClearPolitics. “It'll be complete on Wednesday, one way or the other.” After Super Tuesday, he predicted that either Mike Bloomberg or Biden will emerge as the moderate foil to the extremism of Sanders: “There will only be one.” Things could be over as soon as they begin for the former New York City mayor, who skipped the four early contests to spend time and money blitzing Super Tuesday states. For a while, that looked like a wise bet as Biden imploded in Iowa and New Hampshire. After South Carolina, not so much. “The plan was to win big tomorrow,” a senior Bloomberg aide told RCP on Monday. “If that happens, then it’s going according to plan. If not...” Looking from the outside in, Republican operatives were having flashbacks to 2016. A populist named Donald Trump was running for president, and rather than take him seriously, the  establishment candidates crowded each other out until it was too late. “It’s not apple to apples,” Tim Miller said in comparing the 2020 Democratic primary to the previous Republican one. He was the spokesman for Jeb Bush last time around, the once mighty Florida governor and presumed establishment champion. But Bush dropped out after a disappointing showing in South Carolina and the other candidates, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, refused to make peace to oppose the upstart front-runner Trump. Klobuchar and Buttigieg are not so hard-headed. Miller said that by walking away before Super Tuesday, the two moderates have given Biden “a realistic path toward the nomination.” He added, however, that these endorsements “were necessary, but not sufficient, for stopping Sanders.” It is possible, the former GOP flack said, “that a consolidation might not matter because, in the end, voters might be for Sanders.” But consolidation does have two immediate and undeniable effects, observers from across the spectrum say. First, it gave Biden the spotlight 24 hours before voters cast their ballots. Second, and perhaps more critically, it signals to donors that that there is no longer an embargo on Joe, that they can give freely and generously to his campaign. And the former vice president needs the money if he wants to survive over the long haul. He told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he had raised $18 million in February, $5 million “during the victory in South Carolina.” It was an impressive total, but one dwarfed by Sanders, who raised $46.5 million in the same period. This is why Biden needs the checkbooks of Buttigieg and Klobuchar donors. The Sanders camp knows as much, and these new developments aren’t going over well. “A brokered convention is a gift to Donald Trump,” Nomiki Konst, a national Sanders surrogate, told RCP. By staying in the contest, she asserted, Biden is needlessly extending the race to sabotage the insurgent front-runner. “Joe Biden, right now, is a mercenary for Donald Trump,” Konst said. And that makes Buttigieg and Klobuchar “Biden mercenaries.” “Maybe we should be asking why the Democratic Party is allowing this to happen,” Konst added, “and if their intention is really to win the election.” Those in the establishment wing insist it’s not just about unseating the president. It’s also about keeping the party from going off the deep end philosophically and politically. “On the meta-level, there's a choice between Democrats who believe in capitalism and then the democratic socialist who doesn't. That's a very fundamental question,” Bennett said. Sanders has been so eager to push the policy envelope that he risks losing large swaths of voters, he continued. “Are we going to propose to people that we spend $33 trillion, take away health care coverage of 180 million people, and upend the system?” he asked. “Or are we going to propose that we perfect the thing that we started with the ACA? That's the choice.” The left and the center-left and the right seem to agree on one thing: their opposition to Bloomberg. The Sanders campaign has long attacked him over his billions, while the Biden campaign seems annoyed that someone else would present himself as yet another establishment alternative. “Mike Bloomberg,” Miller argued, was essentially “running Bernie Sanders’ super PAC.” Every vote and each delegate that Bloomberg wins, he continued, is a voter or delegate out of reach for Biden. “He is just helping Bernie Sanders get closer to the plurality that he needs to be the nominee,” Miller added. “I think it's very strange to spend three-quarters of a billion dollars to help democratic socialism take over your party.”Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Shouting Match Breaks Out on South Carolina Debate Stage

Feb. 26, 2020

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- One night after a dinner noted for its decorum and Southern civility, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates eagerly savaged one another, seeking advantage just four days before the pivotal South Carolina primary. All of the candidates on the debate stage Tuesday night hold positions at least as progressive as the last Democratic president’s. The overarching narrative, then, tumbled into arguments about electability and effectiveness. CBS moderators asked Bernie Sanders, the current front-runner, how he planned to pay for $50 trillion in proposed new spending, including an estimated $30 trillion for “Medicare for All.” Could he do the math on stage? “How many hours do you have?” he shot back. “That’s the problem,” Joe Biden interrupted. Annoyed by the former vice president’s snarky aside, the self-described democratic socialist asserted that people’s overall health care outlays would go down as government spending goes up. “What we need to do,” Sanders said, “is to do what every other major country on Earth does: guarantee health care to all people, not have thousands of separate insurance plans." He barely got this answer out before Amy Klobuchar interrupted. Not only would his spending dwarf the American economy, the Minnesota senator complained, Sanders was out of step with what voters want. All of it, she continued, would amount to “a bunch of broken promises that sound good on bumper stickers.” Sanders tried shouting a rebuttal as Pete Buttigieg started talking over him. When the moderators finally quieted the cross-talk, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor had calculated the political cost to Democrats: “It adds up to four more years of Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House, and the inability to get the Senate into Democratic hands.” Sanders was hardly the innocent victim of this sort of exchange. He got the first question: How could he convince voters to turn away from President Trump when the economy is doing so well? The Vermont senator turned his answer into an attack on the former mayor of New York, a deep-pocketed latecomer to the race: “Well, you're right. The economy is doing really great for people like Mr. Bloomberg and other billionaires.” Bloomberg responded in kind, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Trump to remain in the White House, which is “why Russia is helping you get elected, so you will lose to him.” It was a reference to unsubstantiated reports that Russia is backing the new front-runner with a disinformation campaign, and Sanders countered by citing Bloomberg’s past praise of the leader of communist China: “I'm not a good friend of President Xi of China. I think President Xi is an authoritarian leader.” The dueling references to foreign tyrants was unusual at a debate that was supposed to focus on kitchen table issues. Biden holds an eight-percentage-point lead in South Carolina and has long insisted that he would succeed in a more diverse state that better reflects the makeup of the country. But he was left sputtering as moderators failed to stifle all the shouting. “I guess the only way to do this is to jump in and speak twice as long as you should,” he said with exasperation when other candidates kept talking over the allotted 90-second limit. “I know you cut me off all the time, but I’m not going to be quiet anymore, OK?” he complained when a moderator tried to cut another answer short. "Why am I stopping? No one else stops," he later sighed. Biden has the most to lose in South Carolina after finishing fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire and second in Nevada. He has built a last-ditch firewall in the Southern state. To preserve it, he invoked the name of his old boss to attack Sanders, noting how Sanders had mulled a 2012 primary challenge against Barack Obama. Being a true progressive doesn’t mean passing purity tests, he said. “Progressive is getting things done,” Biden argued, “and that's what we got done. We got a lot done.” Critiques such as this one weren’t uttered only by moderates. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders share a similar policy portfolio, she noted, “but I think I would make a better president than Bernie” because “getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard, and it's going to take someone who digs into the details to make it happen.” No one accused Bloomberg of not getting things done. It was what the former mayor has done that drew his competitors’ criticism. They accused him of enforcing racist stop-and-frisk policies as mayor and of forcing female former employees to sign non-disclosure agreements in settling complaints about inappropriate comments he allegedly made. When Warren leveled that last charge, the billionaire objected. He had already released three women from those contracts, and besides she was just “relitigating” an old issue. At this, Buttigieg jumped in: “And if you get nominated, we'll be re-litigating this all year.” The barbs and counter-barbs and counter-counter-barbs went on and on. Should Sanders become the nominee, Trump will use the standard-bearer’s far-left ideology as a cudgel against him, billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer said. He previewed the president’s attack, starting politely enough by  praising the front-runner for identifying many of the problems facing the country. “The difference is,” Steyer continued, “I don't like his solutions. I don't believe that a government takeover of large parts of the economy makes any sense for working people or for families.” This criticism was tamely expressed compared to the attacks Sanders received over his recent comments about Cuba, in particular his praise of Fidel Castro’s “literacy programs.” Yes, Sanders replied, he had trumpeted such social initiatives advanced by the late dictator. No, the senator continued, he had not endorsed the authoritarianism that accompanied them. But again, this was too much for Buttigieg: Democrats would fail, he said, if they must champion a nominee who encouraged the public to “look at the bright side of the Castro regime.” “I’m not looking forward to a scenario where it comes down to Trump, with nostalgia for the social order of the 1950s, and Sanders, with nostalgia for the revolutionary politics of the 1960s,” he continued. There were other arguments, most of them accompanied by raised voices. It was a noisy and final debate before the last dance ahead of not just the Palmetto State’s primary but Super Tuesday. Some were surprised by the tumult, including Steyer, who told RealClearPolitics that “the debate got a little away from the moderators from time to time, for sure.” Others were more than disappointed, including a senior South Carolina Democratic official. “The staff of these candidates are performing political malpractice,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “This was an opportunity to connect with the folks of South Carolina — to share the stories and heartaches, the dreams and pains of the people they have met over the past year.” “They all failed miserably,” the official concluded. South Carolina votes on Saturday.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

At Pre-Debate S.C. Dinner, Barbs Are Not on the Menu

Feb. 25, 2020

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- It was the last first dance before Super Tuesday, and some are stumbling, others are barely holding on, and only one is truly surging. Somehow, they all made it to supper. Presidential hopefuls arrived Monday night for the First in the South Dinner, five days before the South Carolina primary and 350 years after the founding of this scenic, historic town. Well-heeled donors know their political courtships are coming to an end, and the remaining Democratic candidates understood that this might be their final shot to make a positive impression.  One by one, they gave brief, mostly polite speeches as the audience tucked into chicken and salmon. Not far from here, candidates will tear into one Tuesday night during the South Carolina debate, set for broadcast on CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Everyone knows the stakes: The most compelling debater could walk away Saturday with a lion’s share of the state’s 63 delegates. More importantly, the primary winner will enjoy loads of free media -- and momentum -- after winning the last of the early states. The debate’s poor performers, however, will have to come to terms with an ugly realization. “Reality sets in on Wednesday,” Jay Parmley said of the morning after the debate. “And then more reality sets in on Sunday,” the executive director of the South Carolina Democratic told RealClearPolitics. “This ends it for us. It’s the last crush.” After the Palmetto State renders its verdict, candidates without a win to their name will find it harder and harder to break through -- and to pull in the money needed to sustain a campaign. It is the last state to go it alone before Super Tuesday when 14 others, accounting for about 40% of the voting population, go to the polls together. Joe Biden knows this better than most and believes he has built his firewall in the Deep South. But it may crumble and break his heart. The former vice president and former front-runner came in fourth in Iowa and then fifth in New Hampshire and finally second in Nevada. None of those results really matter because “South Carolina is gonna determine who the next president of the United States is going to be,” he said Monday night. Biden told the capacity crowd that they made Bill Clinton president in the same way they sent his old boss, Barack Obama, to the White House. “And I have a simple proposition,” Biden continued. “I'm here to ask you for your help.” According to the RealClearPolitics average, he could use it. Biden leads in South Carolina, but Bernie Sanders has cut into that lead — substantially. The Vermont senator trails him by just five percentage points, down from double digits at the beginning of the month. An army of aides and pollsters and analysts has certainly kept Biden abreast of these depressing numbers, but he didn’t seem to mind at the banquet. He projected an easy confidence and didn’t even use all his allotted time. “I got a minute 23 seconds left,” he said before walking off the stage. Whether the swagger is warranted or not, no one took a shot at the former longtime senator from Delaware. Other candidates mostly stuck to their stump speeches, except for when they deviated to go after the new front-runner. “I have come to appreciate and respect my friend Sen. Sanders, even more during the course of this race, and I share his ideals,” said Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and one of the moderates vying for the nomination. “But I also believe that we must make promises we can keep in this election.” Across town at a voter forum hosted by CNN, Buttigieg kept up that critique, insisting he is the best alternative to the democratic socialist “because I am the only who has beaten him this year, anywhere.” (That’s true in terms of Iowa “delegate equivalents,” but not in terms of the raw vote there.) While the mayor focused on electability, billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer made an ideological argument. He told the crowd that he credits Sanders for identifying “some of the biggest questions facing America.” Steyer just doesn’t buy his revolution solution. “I profoundly disagree with” that approach,” the billionaire political newcomer said. “I have never thought that having a government take over major portions of the American economy was a good idea. I don't think it works for working people. I don’t think it works with families. It's been tried thousands of times, and it's never worked.” Later at the CNN town hall, Steyer seemed to double down. Was it appropriate for Sanders to praise Fidel Castro, the late dictator of communist China? No, he replied. It was “inappropriate.” Sanders has argued that it is possible to praise the dictator’s social programs, such as the literacy efforts he put in place, without also endorsing his authoritarianism. Before leaving the banquet for the CNN event, the senator seemed to brush off his past comments and current criticism of them. “I know you’re hearing a lot on TV that ‘Bernie can’t win,’” he said. “Don’t believe everything you hear on TV.” As the Sanders lead grows, party insiders expect such arguments to get more intense. One Democratic National Committee official said that Tuesday’s debate will likely be the fiercest as every contender knows that “this is the primary that has made kings and queens.” No one, however, was willing to break with the time-honored rules of Southern decorum. At the dinner, most candidates were polite, and the sharpest barbs were reserved for President Trump and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. “Tonight was just a warmup act for what to expect at the most consequential debate of this process,” Antjuan Seawright told RCP as the crowd filtered out of the banquet hall. The South Carolina strategist added, “They know what South Carolina means for the temperature of this country.”Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Events

2020

Jan. 22
Meet Pete in Dubuque!

Wed 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM CST

Dubuque, Iowa Dubuque, IA

Jan. 21
Meet Pete and Congressman Loebsack in Keokuk!

Tue 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM CST

Keokuk, Iowa Keokuk, IA

Jan. 21
Meet Pete and Congressman Loebsack in Mount Pleasant!

Tue 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM CST

Mount Pleasant, Iowa Mount Pleasant, IA