Nov 11, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Buttigieg: "Old normal" failures help explain how we got Trump

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a town hall event at the Walpole Middle School on November 10, 2019 in Walpole, New Hampshire.
Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a town hall in Walpole, New Hampshire, Sunday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Editor's Note: The original version of this story was based on an incorrect quote in a story in the L.A. Times, which has since been amended. L.A. Times reporter Evan Halper's tweeted statement is below. The original story is under that, in full.

  • "My story about @PeteButtigieg ends with him referring to the 'failures of the Obama era.'"
  • "That’s an inaccurate quote — the result of transcribing a noisy recording at a loud rally. His exact words were 'failures of the old normal'. I deeply regret the mistake. When we make errors we own them. This one really hurts because it went viral."
  • "Here’s the candidate’s full remark: 'I also fundamentally believe that there is no going back. My message is not about going back to where we were. I think because I come from a part of the country where normal has been a real problem for a very long time, and I think the failures of the old normal help explain how we got to Trump, I am much more interested in building a future that is going to have a lot of differences.'"

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Original story below:

2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg sought on Sunday to stand out from his top-tier Democratic presidential rivals by linking the rise of President Donald Trump to the administration of his predecessor Barak Obama, per the Los Angeles Times.

What he's saying: "My message is not about going back to where we were," the LA Times reports the South Bend Mayor as saying. "The failures of the Obama era help explain how we got Trump. I am running on building a future that is going to have a lot of differences.… One thing I learned in 2016 is to be very skeptical of any message that relies on the word 'again.'"

Why it matters: Buttigieg is looking to set himself apart from fellow top-tier moderate former Vice President Joe Biden "by offering himself as the viable moderate alternative" to Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, per the New York Times.

The big picture: Axios' Fadel Allassan notes his efforts appear to be working, as a New York Times/Siena College poll of voters likely to attend the Iowa caucuses shows him gaining ground, with 18% backing him as Biden slipped to 17%. (Warren and Sanders were polling at 22% and 19%, respectively.)

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