First-time Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg struck a Democratic conventional wisdom by competing in the crowded early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. But the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is also trying to make his mark by coming off as an out-of-the-box candidate.
On Tuesday, which would have been Buttigieg’s 29th birthday, he announced he’s dropping out of the race because of time constraints. But in the week after the announcement, TV cameras followed him around New Hampshire as he mingled with New Hampshire voters, trying to win over Granite State Republicans.
The title of the 2016 documentary “Pete Buttigieg: Teenage Mayor” fits the former Intel executive from a book named for his unofficial title when he was elected South Bend mayor in 2012. Buttigieg’s 32-minute book tour video showcased his interviews with liberals, in which he candidly explained why he loves progressives and why he doesn’t care what they think.
Pete’s a young man, but he’s also a man,” fangirl Jennifer Rhee says in the book.
On a pier near his home in South Bend, Indiana, according to the book, Buttigieg couldn’t move without getting a well-wishing signature.
“I think one of the best pieces of advice that anybody gave me was just be yourself,” Buttigieg said. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. That’s really – I can’t tell you how great it’s been, just the number of people who have told me, ‘You changed my life.’ ”
And early indications are that Buttigieg has also changed minds, according to people familiar with the former congressman’s early effort in Iowa.
“He was very open about being young, but what really stood out to people was that he was smart,” said Larry Jacobs, the director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, which was based on Buttigieg’s record of service, including five terms in the House and four years as mayor.
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