Pete Buttigieg

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
Jump to  stances on the issues
Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race on March 1, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Buttigieg has positioned himself as a moderate and has called for generational change in political leadership. The second-term mayor is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and was a Rhodes scholar.
Harvard College, B.A., 2004; University of Oxford, Rhodes scholar, 2007
January 19, 1982
Chasten Buttigieg
US Navy Reserve, 2009-2017;
Consultant at McKinsey and Co., 2007-2010
Biden adopts signature tactics from former primary rivals as he prepares for general election against Trump
Updated 10:00 AM ET, Sat May 23, 2020
Joe Biden is adopting some of his former Democratic presidential primary rivals' best-known tactics as he seeks to bridge the party's gaps headed into his general election match-up against President Donald Trump. He consulted with Pete Buttigieg as his campaign turned the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor's "Rules of the Road" -- a set of values for his campaign and its supporters -- into Biden's own new "Campaign Code." Last week he dialed supporters with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for whom the tactic -- and the videos it helped produce on social media -- was a keystone as she shunned traditional high-dollar fundraisers. And he and Buttigieg hosted a virtual "grassroots" fundraiser, a small-dollar event modeled after the events Buttigieg often held, on Friday. The efforts offer Biden a chance to tap into the popularity and excitement surrounding his former rivals. Part of the aim, a Biden adviser said, is to appeal to the cultural components of past campaigns that are important to those supporters while also maintaining an authentic feeling for Biden and his campaign. Visit CNN's Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race It all comes as Biden's campaign morphs from a largely offline primary effort, where support from older voters, especially African Americans, catapulted him to the Democratic nomination, into one that is attempting to unite the party and gear up for what the coronavirus pandemic could force to be a general election battle that's fought over the internet and airwaves. "Our campaign continues to grow stronger because we are adopting some of the smartest, most effective tactics used during the primary, and we're grateful to our friends on other campaigns who have helped us do that," said TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for the Biden campaign. "It's because of this kind of cooperation and unity that we will beat Donald Trump this November." The calls with Warren and the code borrowed from Buttigieg both align with the image of Biden that his campaign has sought to portray: an empathetic figure who is motivated by the personal connections he makes and stories he hears on the campaign trail. "These tactics work because they're authentic to Joe Biden," said Lis Smith, the Buttigieg strategist who said she and other former staffers have been in contact with Biden's campaign. "It doesn't come across as pandering. He's doing it in a way that is authentic to him and that is authentic to his campaign, and that's why I think it's so powerful," she said. Adopting some of his former rivals' tactics is part of Biden's broader effort to bring Democrats together after a bruising primary campaign. Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, his strongest rival in the party's primary, have assembled a series of working groups on policy issues. Biden's team has been deliberate in welcoming supporters of past opponents. This includes helping produce graphics for members of Buttigieg's "Team Pete" and Kamala Harris' "KHive" now on board with the former vice president's campaign -- a move that allows those people to maintain their identities as supporters of Biden's former rivals while lining up behind the party's choice to take on Trump. As a gesture of thanks to Buttigieg's supporters on Super Tuesday, the Biden campaign's press shop learned a dance to the song "High Hopes" by Panic! at the Disco, which had become a light-hearted joke among Buttigieg's followers. And Biden himself sought to extend olive branches to Sanders' supporters as the primary wound down, frequently praising the Vermont senator and courting his supporters in speeches. Buttigieg's "Rules of the Road" were the first prominent example of Biden -- who has had to grow his staff for the general election while at home in Delaware, with aides working from their homes, as well -- adopting a former rival's tactics. Biden and Buttigieg have spoken several times in recent months, and Biden's campaign asked for Buttigieg's feedback and sign-off before making public its "Campaign Code." "It was really smart to have Pete that involved in this process, because it signals to Pete's supporters that the Biden campaign wasn't just paying Pete's campaign and Pete's supporters lip service," Smith said. This week Buttigieg emailed his campaign's list to invite them to his first grassroots fundraiser with Biden. It's the sort of event that could bring new online donors into Biden's campaign -- and allow the campaign to hit those donors again and again for contributions. "Grassroots fundraisers are really important to me. They are based on the idea that the experience of a political fundraiser, often regarded as high-dollar closed-door events in the past, should be equally available to folks chipping in $5, $25 at a time," he said. Biden's embrace of his rival's campaigns extends to policy and staffing as well. Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon, who took over leading the team in March, initially ran former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's presidential bid. And several other O'Rourke staffers now fill prominent roles in Biden's campaign. This week, Biden's campaign announced the hiring of Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the former co-national political director for the Harris campaign, as a senior adviser focusing on Latino outreach and state operations. The campaign recently beefed up its digital team by adding senior advisers from the campaigns of Harris, O'Rourke and Warren. Biden's advisers maintain frequent contact with the teams of former opponents. Rob Flaherty, Biden's digital director who is an alum of O'Rourke's campaign, has coordinated digital and social media efforts, and a trio of top advisers -- Cristóbal Alex, Stef Feldman and Symone Sanders -- work with outside groups and former rivals' teams on policy issues. Biden has already made policy overtures to past campaigns, including embracing Warren's bankruptcy plan and teaming up with the Massachusetts senator to highlight possible corruption in the Trump administration's coronavirus relief efforts. He's credited Sanders and his supporters for "laying the groundwork" on two of Biden's recent policy commitments -- lowering the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60 and forgiving student loan debt for low-income and middle-class borrowers who attended public colleges and universities, historically black colleges and universities, and other institutions geared toward students of color. The Biden and Sanders' teams have set up unity task forces aiming to work together on six key policy areas. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an ardent Sanders supporter, is co-chairing the group focusing on climate change along with Biden backer former Secretary of State John Kerry. As Democrats turn their attention to the general election, the Biden campaign is working to maximize the use of former rivals in virtual fundraising and events. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Buttigieg, Harris and Klobuchar have all participated in recent fundraisers for the former vice president. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Harris, Klobuchar and O'Rourke, have headlined virtual campaign events and calls for the campaign. Klobuchar, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and Andrew Yang have appeared on Biden's podcast "Here's the Deal." Biden made his own calls to grassroots donors occasionally during the primary, but he's aimed to make those personalized calls more frequently since he became the presumptive Democratic nominee. Like Warren once did, his team dangles the possibility of a call from Biden in many of its fundraising pitches. Biden and Warren recently teamed up to call those grassroots donors together. "I wanted to call to say thank you for contributing to Vice President Biden's campaign. You're one of the people we're counting on," Warren said in a video of the calls. "Today I've got a special guest ... take it away Joe." "Carroll, this is Joe Biden," the former vice president said. "I was kidding with the senator a moment ago. I said, you know I used to call my contributors, but I never had as many until she endorsed me," said Biden. "I'm counting on her a great deal not just for her endorsement, but for her ideas and her leadership."
climate crisis
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Buttigieg released a plan in September 2019 that aims to move the US to clean energy and agriculture, shield existing communities and industries from the effects of climate change and lead a global response to the crisis. He calls for the Department of Defense to set up a Climate Watch Floor and would create a new senior climate security role within the department. He aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, pledging to invest $25 billion annually in research by 2025 – a move he compares to the Manhattan Project – and to set a price on carbon, generating money that would be returned to Americans as a dividend. He says his plan would generate 3 million new jobs as the economy transitions to clean energy production. Buttigieg pledges to spend $5 billion annually on grants for rural communities and ensure that new infrastructure “can withstand extreme weather and sea level rise.” He calls for integrating climate change into national security planning. Buttigieg supports the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. He has also proposed his own plan, which would impose a carbon tax on corporations and polluters and pass on the money raised from that tax to Americans as a dividend. Buttigieg has said he would rejoin the Paris climate accord, the landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. Buttigieg says he wants to ensure the US – “not China” – will lead the climate response globally, and suggests he’d use sanctions to push other countries to adopt carbon-pricing programs. He has also said that while the Paris accord is critical, he would like to hold a “Pittsburgh summit” within his first 100 days as president, where cities would come together to work on curbing emissions. More on Buttigieg’s climate crisis policy
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On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has clearly stated his view that manufacturing jobs are not returning to their previous levels because of factors like automation. In July 2019, he introduced a plan aimed at protecting workers and putting big tech companies firmly in the hot seat. Buttigieg would guarantee the right to join a union for all American workers including gig economy workers – like Uber and Lyft drivers, who are considered independent contractors and not employees of the companies. Buttigieg is no fan of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and has suggested that it caused significant and largely irreversible job loss. He has also focused on the need for the federal government to spur entrepreneurship in underserved communities. He has proposed having the government “triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas – particularly ones of color – within 10 years” by offering grants and incentivizing investment in underserved areas and overhauling credit scoring as a way to open up credit opportunities for traditionally underserved communities. In August 2019, Buttigieg rolled out a proposal to provide $500 million in federal funding for “Regional Innovation Clusters.” Those would allow state and local governments to take the lead on developing economic projects based on the specific needs of individual rural communities through a grant program judged by a panel of entrepreneurs across the country. Buttigieg pledges up to $5 billion to expand apprenticeship networks across the country “to ensure an apprenticeship program in a growing industry is available within 30 miles of every American,” including underserved rural areas. Buttigieg seeks to create “Community Renewal visas,” with the aim of attracting high-skilled immigrants with the promise of attaining green cards at the end of three-year residencies in rural communities. Buttigieg also supports raising the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 and passing paid family and medical leave. More on Buttigieg’s economic policy
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Buttigieg – who, along with his husband, Chasten, has student loan debt that combined amounts to six figures – does not support making college tuition-free. He argues that lower- and middle-income families should benefit from tuition-free public college but not the children of the wealthy, or, as he put it once, “even the children of billionaires.” Buttigieg has looked to tie education affordability to his national service plan. The mayor, who himself served in the Navy Reserve, said his administration would provide support and incentives for students who decide to go into a service field before or after college. Buttigieg says he supports charter schools in some instances, but he said in Iowa earlier this year that “for-profit charter schools should not be our vision for the future.” His plan to combat racial inequality in the United States would increase resources to historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions by $25 billion. More on Buttigieg’s education policy
gun violence
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Buttigieg released a plan in August 2019 that would increase federal funding to combat hate and violent extremism, boost federal research into gun violence and work with social media companies to stem incendiary rhetoric online. He would dedicate $1 billion to law enforcement, including increasing the FBI’s field staff, for “sufficient resources to counter the growing tide of white nationalist violence.” Those funds would also be reinvested in Department of Homeland Security efforts to fight extremism, violence and hate. Buttigieg supports universal background checks. He has also backed a nationwide gun licensing system and a ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons. As mayor of South Bend, he’s long had a focus on reducing gun violence. Buttigieg joined the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of more than 1,000 current and former mayors advocating stricter gun laws, in 2013 and supported the South Bend Group Violence Intervention, a program aimed at combating gun violence in the city.Buttigieg often talks about gun laws through a personal lens. As the youngest candidate in the 2020 race, he grew up in an era when school shootings have become common. As a veteran, he has training and experience with weapons. More on Buttigieg’s gun violence policy
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Buttigieg supports what he calls “Medicare for all who want it” – an idea that he says is a pathway to the “Medicare for All” proposal backed by other candidates, which would create a national government health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. Under Buttigieg’s plan, private health insurance would still exist for consumers. Buttigieg also focuses on health care in his Douglass Plan, aimed at combating inequality for African Americans. He plans to diversify the medical workforce and create “health equity zones” to address health care disparities in certain geographic locations. In August 2019, he proposed a plan to improve health care access in rural communities by waiving visa requirements to attract immigrant doctors, increasing access to telehealth services by expanding high speed internet and creating a new office within the Department of Health and Human Services. Buttigieg plans to reduce maternal mortality rates by funding pre-maternity homes and offering subsidies for housing and transportation. He would also extend Medicaid coverage for one-year postpartum. Currently, Medicaid typically covers only 60 days of postpartum care. In October 2019, Buttigieg released a plan aimed at reducing prescription drug costs and jump-starting pharmaceutical innovation. The plan, titled “Affordable Medicine for All,” would penalize pharmaceutical companies that raise prices by more than the rate of inflation and by increasing the annual Branded Prescription Drug Fee, a section of the Affordable Care Act that sets an annual fee according to each manufacturer’s share of drug sales that goes to government programs like Medicare Part D and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Buttigieg also released an LGBTQ rights plan that proposes eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, ensuring access to the HIV drug PrEP for all who need it, finding a cure for AIDS and ensuring health insurance providers cover trans-specific medical care. More on Buttigieg’s health care policy
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Buttigieg has said he wants a comprehensive immigration plan, which would include providing a pathway to citizenship for those who received Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants, including people brought to the US as minors. He also calls for addressing the backlogs in the immigration and asylum processes and having “reasonable” security measures at the US-Mexico border. “I don’t have a problem with enhanced border security, perhaps to include fencing,” Buttigieg told PBS in February 2019. He suggested border security cannot be simplified with “just putting up a wall from sea to shining sea.” He has also proposed ending family separation at the border and evaluating practices from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection “to ensure similar humanitarian crises never happen again.” More on Buttigieg’s immigration policy
Rosenstein will face off with Senate GOP over Russia probe
Updated 10:01 AM ET, Wed Jun 3, 2020
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will defend his appointment of former special counsel Robert Mueller Wednesday at Senate Republicans' first hearing taking aim at the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation. Rosenstein is expected to face pointed questions from Republicans about problems with the foreign surveillance warrant obtained on a former Trump adviser, his decision to appoint former special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate President Donald Trump and a recently declassified 2017 memo he wrote setting the scope of Mueller's probe. Rosenstein will seek to walk a fine line in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee between defending the findings of Mueller's team on Russia and agreeing that some in the FBI committed wrongdoing, according to a copy of his prepared opening remarks. "I decided that appointing a Special Counsel was the best way to complete the investigation appropriately and promote public confidence in its conclusions," Rosenstein will say. "As we now know, the eventual conclusions were that Russians committed crimes seeking to influence the election and Americans did not conspire with them." The former No. 2 at the Justice Department, who supervised the Mueller probe that came under constant attack from Trump, will acknowledge the problems with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants obtained on former Trump adviser Carter Page that were documented by the Justice Department inspector general. "Senators, whenever agents or prosecutors make serious mistakes or engage in misconduct, the Department of Justice must take remedial action. And if existing policies fall short, those policies need to be changed," Rosenstein plans to say. The election-year testimony of Trump's former deputy attorney general, who authorized a special counsel probe into the President, would ordinarily be a major news story, but it's likely to be overshadowed Wednesday by the coronavirus pandemic and the protests across the country over the death of George Floyd. Still, the FBI's Russia investigation is likely to be campaign fodder for the general election, as Trump's campaign and congressional Republicans have turned their attention to former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's presumptive 2020 opponent. Rosenstein's testimony is the first in a series of hearings that Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is planning as part of a probe challenging the origins of the FBI's investigation into Trump's team and Russia, known as Crossfire Hurricane, and the Mueller probe, which followed it. Graham and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who has launched his own committee probe into the FBI's investigation into Trump's team, are holding separate votes Thursday that would give them wide-ranging subpoena power for documents and testimony of top Obama administration officials. Democrats charge that Republicans should be focused on addressing more important issues, like the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide protests over policing, rather than relitigating the Russia probe. But Republicans argue their investigations are necessary in light of the abuses uncovered by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz related to the FISA warrants obtained on Page. Still, Democrats may press Rosenstein, too, about authoring a different memo used to justify the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, as well as Rosenstein's role in the Justice Department's conclusion that there was not sufficient evidence in the Mueller investigation to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. Republicans are seeking to unravel the FBI's Russia investigation on the heels of Attorney General William Barr's move to dismiss the charges against Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose guilty plea was secured by Mueller's team. The charges against Flynn are the latest source of controversy over the FBI probe, as former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified documents that Trump and other Republicans have claimed show the Obama administration was targeting Flynn. "Rod Rosenstein bears a lot of responsibility for being there, being complicit in this wrongful targeting," Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday on Fox News. Democrats have dismissed the investigations as an election-year effort to boost Trump's reelection bid and rewrite the history of the Mueller investigation. "There shouldn't be hearings on President Trump's wild conspiracies about the 2016 election," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Monday. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said, "I don't know what to expect," when asked about Rosenstein's testimony. Rosenstein, who is testifying voluntarily, was not present for the start of the Russia probe in July 2016, but he signed off on the third renewal of a FISA court warrant approved for Page -- warrants that the inspector general concluded were undermined by significant problems. The inspector general report outlined 17 "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in the four applications for the Page warrants in 2016 and 2017, including the use of an opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia. But Horowitz also found the FBI investigation had been properly started, with enough predication to probe suspicious ties between people associated with the Trump campaign and suspected Russian agents. Rosenstein told the inspector general he did not recall the details of the briefings he had received on the Page warrant or those he was given about the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. He said he "did not have an opinion about" whether there was sufficient information to open the probe. "I'd like to know from him, was he misled?" said Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican on the Judiciary panel. "Let's find out what he did, and what he actually was briefed on, what he was aware of." Many of the major events of the Mueller investigation happened on Rosenstein's watch, so Wednesday could become a comprehensive revisiting of the FBI's and the Mueller team's work. Rosenstein oversaw the Mueller investigation for almost two years, from his May 2017 appointment of the special counsel -- following then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the investigation -- until Barr took office in February 2019, the last full month for Mueller's work. Rosenstein was the top Justice Department official overseeing the indictments of Russians for election interference and the major obstruction and conspiracy prosecutions of Trump advisers, including former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, the President's personal attorney Michael Cohen, longtime friend Roger Stone and Flynn. It was Rosenstein's directive in Mueller's initial months, too, that outlined how the special counsel should investigate whether Page, Manafort and foreign-policy campaign adviser George Papadopoulos colluded with Russian government officials. Mueller's team did not find evidence of any conspiracy between Trump's associates and Russia, but he did conclude that those inside and associated with the Trump campaign had welcomed and encouraged Russian activity they thought could help Trump win. Rosenstein has maintained even since his departure that Russians interfered in the 2016 election and will likely continue to in 2020. Rosenstein also became a major witness to the other half of the Mueller investigation: documenting the President's attempts to obstruct the probe. Trump was not charged with obstruction after Barr and Rosenstein reviewed the Mueller report, Barr told Congress after he received Mueller's findings. This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.