In Manchester and Concord the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, shone again as a persuasive centrist in a party moving left
If this weekend was anything to go by, Pete Buttigieg might be the hottest ticket in the Democratic party right now.
The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, held rallies in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday and amid talk of job growth, healthcare and military service one thing was clear: if you want to see Buttigieg, get there early.
On Friday night Buttigieg his campaign T-shirts bear the phonetic spelling Boot-edge-edge had been due to hold a rally at a brewery in Manchester. Because of demand, he switched venues at the last minute to the Currier Museum of Art. That quickly sold out too, leaving 200 people standing outside at 7.30pm.
They got to see their man. Buttigieg emerged in the drizzle, to lusty chants of Pete! Pete! Pete! Hed even prepared a joke.
I hear the way you ingratiate yourself to voters is to stand on things, he said as he clambered on to a bench. It was a reference to the folksy, table-hopping style of his Texan rival Beto ORourke. As a gag it would have been more impressive if Buttigieg hadnt repeated it inside the museum 10 minutes later and at a bookstore the next day.
Buttigiegs stump speech is not filled with jokes. Short and slight with neat hair and a slightly reedy voice, he speaks earnestly, beginning by rattling off his extremely impressive resum.
The mayor of a city of 100,000 in the midwest, an area where Donald Trump made his biggest inroads in 2016, Buttigieg is a former navy reserve who served seven months in Afghanistan in 2014. He is also a Rhodes scholar who earned a first-class degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford and graduated magna cum laudefrom Harvard.
He seems too good to be true, Marc Brown, who runs a T-shirt printing business in Salem, told the Guardian on Saturday. But I like everything Ive seen so far.
Theres plenty to like. Buttigieg has a polished speech and a tidy way of tying his credentials to broader themes.
He talks about how the supreme court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage meant his husband could attend his mothers bedside when she got cancer. He links his mothers illness to the importance of universal healthcare, which then segues into the importance of reproductive health an issue which got a huge cheer in Manchester. When Buttigieg talks about national security, he mentions his military career but also the threat of climate change and white nationalism.
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