At 'pivotal' moment in presidential campaign, Pete Buttigieg makes plea to voters in Palo Alto | News | Palo Alto Online |

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At 'pivotal' moment in presidential campaign, Pete Buttigieg makes plea to voters in Palo Alto

Democratic contender details how his local approach informs his national plan

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg waves to supporters after a fundraiser at the University Club in Palo Alto on Feb. 14. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg visited Palo Alto on Friday at what he called a "pivotal" moment in his campaign, coming off strong performances in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary and with the Democratic field continuing to narrow.

Buttigieg spoke to about 200 supporters in a standing room only crowd at the University Club about many of the issues he's made central to his campaign, from the contrasts between him and President Donald Trump to his policy proposals on climate change, health care and voting rights. He pitched himself as an inclusive candidate and U.S. Navy veteran who wants to tackle gun reform, restructure the Supreme Court and create a health care plan that is accessible to all but not "forced" on anybody.

"This is not a moment to be leaning on the familiar playbook when we're dealing with the most disruptive president in modern times," said the 38-year-old former South Bend, Indiana mayor. "I also think we can do better than further divide a divided country. A vision that says the only options are to either be for the revolution or you must be for the status quo leaves most of us out."

Buttigieg spoke for about 30 minutes, including time for taking questions from attendees, who paid from $54 to $2,800 for tickets.

One woman brought a question from her African American in-laws, who she said live in Palo Alto and had supported Cory Booker but are now leaning toward voting for former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Alright, big opportunity," Buttigieg said, leaning in to hear the question.

They asked him to give concrete examples of what Buttigieg did as mayor to help the black community in his city and what he will do as president to improve the lives of their biracial grandchildren.

Buttigieg said he worked to invest in neglected black neighborhoods in South Bend that had been devastated economically by directing funding to save or remove dilapidated homes. He said he created an incubator for minority-owned businesses and saw unemployment, especially among black residents, fall as a result.

His local approach has "informed my idea of what we have to do nationally." He pointed to his Douglass plan, named for famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which proposes reforms related to criminal justice, economic opportunity, health care and education, from increasing federal Title I funding for low-income schools to eliminating incarceration for drug possession and mandatory minimums.

He's also proposed a "21st century" Voting Rights Act to make voting more accessible, particularly for African Americans.

"Behind it all is a need for — and this is my personal commitment because I've seen in a state like mine that's gone out of its way to make it harder to vote, with disproportionate disempowerment of black voters — the importance of a 21st century Voting Rights Act so that voter suppression cannot stand," Buttigieg said.

In other remarks, Buttigieg described his plan to grow paid service opportunities for high school and college students and to depoliticize the Supreme Court by creating 15 justices, with five chosen unanimously by the other 10.

He mentioned climate change several times in his talk with donors. In response to an audience question about nuclear power, he said that the "biggest environmental threat we face is carbon" and that, while he has some concerns, "nuclear power, which is carbon free, belongs in the power portfolio. That said, advancing toward adding to our nuclear generation capacity is less attractive than developing new carbon-free sources."

Another audience member, a man who said he immigrated to the United States from Pakistan more than 30 years ago, asked how Buttigieg would address what he described as the damage Trump has done to American foreign policy.

Buttigieg responded that Trump's "'America first' approach ... really amounts to 'America alone' at a time we can least afford to be alone.

"The world needs the U.S. right now more than ever but it can't be any America. It's gotta be America at our best. It's gotta be an America that is authentically leading on issues of freedom and self-determination, human rights and democracy and climate — issues that are understood around the world to matter, even by people whose governments are sometimes hostile to us," Buttigieg said. "It doesn't work if our own president is echoing the vocabulary of dictators."

The former Indiana mayor frequently blasted Trump — and repeated his stump speech adage of asking the crowd to visualize the sun rising on Nov. 4 with Trump out of the White House. But he told the room that "this is about more than just decisively defeating Donald Trump.

"This is about making sure," he said, "that the voices of those who aren't sure whether they're even being heard right now in the halls of power where decisions are made are actually represented."

Buttigieg is among eight candidates still competing for the Democratic nomination (20 have dropped out). He urged all of them to embrace whoever is ultimately nominated.

"Some will not agree with us on 100% of everything. That's OK," he said. "But what we've gotta do ... is define ourselves not by who we push out but who we can bring to our side."

With less than three weeks until the California primary, Buttigieg made campaign stops in San Francisco (where he faced protests from queer activists who criticized the openly gay candidate for not fully representing LGBTQ+ experiences, according to media reports) and Palo Alto before heading to Sacramento for a scheduled town hall meeting on Friday. He last visited Palo Alto in December.

Editor's note: This article incorrectly stated the military branch where Buttigieg served. Palo Alto Online regrets the error.

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Comments

24 people like this
Posted by Casey Jones
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Now off to the wine cave...


39 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Too inexperienced. Too young. Prone to slick speech. Niche candidate. I haven’t found substantial plans from him.


44 people like this
Posted by lil marco rubio
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 14, 2020 at 5:30 pm

I sure like the democrat candidates this time around more than I liked the 15 Republicans running in 2016. I have horrible memories of Little Marco laughing at the size of Trump's hands.

Pete's okay. Rather see him perform a couple terms in the senate or as a governor so we can judge him.


16 people like this
Posted by BurnedUp
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 14, 2020 at 5:54 pm

“ Pete's okay. Rather see him perform a couple terms in the senate or as a governor so we can judge him.”

Wise you are, grasshopper!

Comrades Bernie, Joe and Elizabeth are much better experienced. The Senate and the VP roles will season the best candidates. So would the mayorship of a large City, but not a tiny city smaller than Fremont, CA.

Mayor Pete should learn the ropes first and let the old folks have their turn first.


25 people like this
Posted by Shawn Berry
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Pete Buttigieg is the Democrat best received by all groups:

"Buttigieg, not Warren, seems more able to draw support from disparate parts of the party. The former South Bend mayor is winning more than 20 percent of voters under 45, over 45, liberals, moderates, college graduates and voters without a degree — a notable achievement in a race where few candidates are getting into the 20s overall or with any blocs."

Web Link

Further, Buttigieg earned 15% of the non-white vote in Iowa and 18% of the non-white vote in New Hampshire, 2nd best in both states.

Web Link

Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by lil marco rubio
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Joe took one for the blue team. Without Joe, most folks wouldn't believe President President Trump would publicly extort a foreign government to make up dirt on his opponent. It was tactically unwise of Trump to get impeached trying to cheat Joe - Biden was never going to win anyway.


37 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 14, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Burned Up,

Comrades Sanders, Warren, and Biden are completely unelectable. Most Californians are oblivious to the political realities of winning in the states that count (e.g., Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin). If Democrats don’t get behind Bloomberg soon and strong, Democrats will lose again to Trump because of their disdain for so-called flyover country.


27 people like this
Posted by john
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 14, 2020 at 7:24 pm

[Post removed.]


34 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2020 at 9:21 pm

Posted by lil marco rubio, a resident of Fairmeadow

>> I sure like the democrat candidates this time around more than I liked the 15 Republicans running in 2016. I have horrible memories of Little Marco laughing at the size of Trump's hands.

>> Pete's okay. Rather see him perform a couple terms in the senate or as a governor so we can judge him.

He may not be the smartest or most experienced candidate, but, he has as much foreign policy experience and more government administration experience than Trump did when elected. If he is nominated, I will vote for him: at least he supports the US Constitution, which is more than Trump does.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 14, 2020 at 11:06 pm

DT has working experience in foreign affairs. He has managed business complexes in world wide locations which means he has had to deal with the governments of those countries relative to the taxes and infrastructure for his various complexes around the world. He has had business dealings around the world which require interplay between the US gov and the governments of those countries. Will also note that his grandfather came to America as a result of the Franco-Prussian Wars - 1870's (Alsace Lorraine). My grandfather also came as a result of that war with a large family that ended up first in CA before ending back in Washington DC and New York. Relatives from that war are/were not impressed with France or later Germany - not beholden to either but familiar with their histories. We know a lot about DT and his history as well as the complexity and locations of his business complexes.

Do not see any kind of experience in Pete other than his time in uniform and town governorship. We know very little about him. He is weak on business experience. Being in uniform in itself is a window of experience but he was not in a management position while in uniform.


10 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 14, 2020 at 11:10 pm

The mayor already has the nomination wrapped up! By mayor, I mean Bloomberg, and by wrapped up, I mean bought and paid for. November will be an epic battle of the New York narcissists.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 14, 2020 at 11:33 pm

You forgot the Silicon Valley narcissists. A lot is going to go down here and Pete is not going to be in play. The "pivotal" moment is simply a play on words. Just media "drama". We have spent three years with bombshells after bombshells. They are just selling papers. The media is just jerking your chains.


28 people like this
Posted by Historian
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2020 at 1:25 am

It may sound shallow, but with a name like that, he cannot win. Plus, with a height like that, he cannot win. Past Presidents are at least 6 feet tall and have basic, easy to pronounce names.


28 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2020 at 5:58 am

I just think what would this very short, very young, gay guy look like and be perceived as if he was standing on the debate stage with Donald Trump?

Trump might not even debate but just Twitter-insult his way though the campaign?

Why is a guy who is mayor of a town with a population less than Santa Clara, CA running for President?
Santa Clara population: 116,468
South Bend population: 102,245

What are people thinking? What interest group is backing this guy?


65 people like this
Posted by Old Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 15, 2020 at 6:55 am

CrescentParkAnon. “I just think what would this very short, very young, gay guy look like and be perceived as if he was standing on the debate stage with Donald Trump? “

Buttigieg would look like a very articulate, smart, fit, self confident , veteran with solid ideas for running the country
Standing next to ....
A poorly educated buffoon who is obese, wears a hair piece tand paints his skin - need I mention self conscious - draft dodger with no idea other that to bribe the military, cheat, grope women, and run up the national.debt so the economy looks better than it is


30 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 15, 2020 at 7:18 am

<Old Joe>

You have strong opinions. You write "Poorly educated..."

I think most in Menlo Park and Palo Alto would love to have their kids graduate from Penn.


13 people like this
Posted by Reasoned
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 15, 2020 at 8:00 am

Mayor Pete is getting funded by all the same corrupt special interests that have made this Country the mess that it is. We must have the courage to vote for change! We all went with the “Safe” candidate last time. Look what that did for us.


5 people like this
Posted by Doctor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2020 at 8:16 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


28 people like this
Posted by lil marco rubio
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 15, 2020 at 9:47 am

(Trump) He has managed business complexes in world wide locations..."

No. He has licensed his once marketable name to put on buildings. He never "managed" them. The businesses he has managed (like his casinos, Trump Air, the Trump Foundation, Trump University, etc..) have either bankrupted or been shut down for fraud.

Seriously, how does one go bankrupt with a casino - a virtual license to print money.

He is doing the same with our government - promised to balance the budget but instead goes head over (lifted) heels in debt with a trillion dollar surplus.

Pete isn't conservative enough for me, but he at least ran a town and SERVED overseas. Republicans need a candidate to vote for in order to get the face-painter out of office.

Pete served. Respect it. Or go back to listening to your Radio Sputnik propaganda broadcast from Kansas City.
Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by lil marco rubio
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 15, 2020 at 9:53 am

" We all went with the “Safe” candidate last time. Look what that did for us."

Y'all beat Trump by 3 million votes. Lost in 3 states by 77,000 votes and that was it. And that's with the dumb Berniebros voting for Jill Stein (another Putin puppet like Trump) in those three states or not bothering to vote at all.

You think Dems are stupid enough to sit this one out because their feelings are hurt about their choice?

I don't. Look at 2018. Trump's in trouble. I wish we had a real conservative to vote for!


11 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 16, 2020 at 9:54 am

As to Trump - read his bio in Wikipedia. Get your facts straight. He has been dipping into politics for a longtime and is very familiar with what is going wrong and what needs to go right. As to failures in real estate you seem to forget that we had a giant failure in the economy a while back and companies world wide suffered greatly in that mess. My son bought at the top of the market back then and it all fell out and most people who bought in that period were under water and are only now getting to a point that they can escape this state.
The D party is suffering from a case of false moral indignation right now that is wasting tax payer dollars. So much for moral indignation. DT is a business man - running a country is a business because you are using other people's money - the taxpayers money.


34 people like this
Posted by Facts, not fables
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


10 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Everyone who is in business has had failures. Every one who is a government employee has had failures. We read about them all of the time. Used to be that people could get away with a lot but not anymore. Technology has gifted us the ability to record and report. And government employees who thought they were in a protected position are now showing the degree of failure in those jobs.


6 people like this
Posted by MAGA
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 16, 2020 at 6:38 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


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