TRANSCRIPT: Pete Buttigieg press gaggle 5/27/2019

Hi friends,

Buttigieg made news with a short quote on Trump’s comments on Biden/Kim Jong Un. The following is a transcript of Pete Buttigieg’s brief press gaggle during the morning of 5/27/2019.

— Marcus

Q: What advice do you have for veterans who get out, they really miss the mission and all the direction that -- and they struggle to find the same sense of purpose as a civilian. Can you talk a little bit about your journey with that, and what your advice is for the veterans that--

Q: I mean, when you're in uniform, your role in uniform gives you a very strong sense of community, identity, and purpose. And it can be disorienting when you leave that, even for me coming off active duty to return to my job as mayor, even that was was a big adjustment. The biggest thing is community.

And we need to make sure that our communities lift people up, invite people to do more than just say thank you for your service. But if you reach out to people who know you, or people who just want to help, there's a whole country full of people want to make sure we do right by our veterans, I think sometimes we just got to draw those connections and make those links actually happen.

Q: So what does your hometown, South Bend, mean to you?

Well, this is a town that shaped me. And it's a community that I think reflects a lot of what's happening in America more generally. We’re a diverse community, we're experiencing economic change. And I think the way that this community which has had major struggles, but the way this community has managed to find a way to grow… is a good example of how the whole country can find a way forward at a time when it's been divided, and struggling to deal with change.

Q: People are so excited, they say you’re the next President. How do you answer this?

A: It's very encouraging to know that the people who know me best, here in this community, are very supportive. But of course, we've got a whole country to get to know and not a lot of time to do it. So now I've got to take South Bend’s story and work it into America story and share that from coast to coast.

Q: [off mic question about tensions with Iran].

A: I'm extremely concerned about what appears to be an escalation with respect to Iran, not only because it's unclear what the administration's policy is, but also because I'm afraid this could actually get away from the President. It wouldn't be the first time he's lost control an international dynamic, and he could be starting a chain reaction that even the White House couldn’t stop, if we learned anything in my lifetime, when it comes to conflict in the Middle East, is that you should not engage in armed conflict or armed escalation, unless there is no alternative. [one word is inaudible here] You better know exactly what you're doing.

Q: [off mic question about Trump/Joe Biden/KJU]

A: My thoughts on that are that Kim Jong Un is a murderous dictator and the Vice President Biden served this country honorably. It's just one more example, though, of the way that this President tries to draw attention to himself by saying things that shock the conscience, to distract us from his deep unpopularity and the deep unpopularity of the Republicans’ governing agenda.

TRANSCRIPT: Pete Buttigieg evening press gaggle 5/17/2019

Hi friends,

Buttigieg made news on Iran (!) and gun control. I also asked about Kamala Harris’ AR-15 proposal but he didn’t take the bait. This transcript is relatively short, and well worth reading the whole thing.

The following is a transcript of Pete Buttigieg’s press gaggle held in the late evening on 5/17/2019.

— Marcus

Q: Mayor Pete, Kamala Harris announced that she would ban AR-15s by executive order if Congress failed to act, what’s your response to that, is that something you’d be able to commit to?

A: I would certainly explore executive action, but we need legislation because it's going to be more robust. And, you know, Americans broadly support strong action on gun safety. So I think that can be achieved in Congress with the right kind of presidential pressure. And while I certainly wouldn't rule out executive action, I want to make sure we do something that is going to be durable, no matter who is President to keep American lives safe.

Q: I'm curious. You -- you -- I think in both events, you mentioned that this is about you, to voters, and I hear I've heard from other candidates on the campaign trail of a message about -- I can beat Donald Trump and I'm curious, what is the right what you think the right message, that -- at least Iowans -- want to hear?

A: I guess the paradox is, the only way we can beat Donald Trump is if it's not only about Donald Trump.

He has a way of taking any attention that is directed his way, including in the form of criticism, and turning it into a kind of food and growing from it. One of the reasons I think a lot of people who disliked him voted for him anyway in the last election was they felt the nobody was speaking to their needs.

And it was a vote effectively to burn the house down by people who felt like the economy and the government were leaving them behind. I think we have a chance to do something completely different. So of course, we're going to call out the wrongdoing when there is a lie, we're going to say it's a lie. And we're going to replace it with the truth.

But the end of the day, think elections are about how much we can make a difference for the voters. And we got to talk about how everything we care about from climate to gun safety, to higher wages cashes out in everyday life. I think that's the way to win. And it's going to take enormous discipline to keep our focus on that. But it is precisely to remove our focus from that that he escalates outrageous behaviors, from tweets to -- to comments, for his own advantage.

Q: Mayor, in the past two election cycles there has been a major issue where Democrats have disagreed with pro- or anti-war in Iraq. It seems a lot of the candidates have some similar positions on whether it's healthcare, federal rates or whatever. How do you differentiate yourself, in a field of 22?

So each of us will have slightly different takes on the issues here today. But I don't think it's by some particular refinement or detail in our respective policy proposals, that voters are going to size up the differences between us. I think tone and messenger are going to matter a lot this time. And people aren't just selecting a platform, they're selecting a leader. I think it's actually a good sign that the the broad strokes of policies among the two dozen some of us in this race are converging.

Of course, there'll be some differences on the margins. Those are healthy differences. And they deserved to be debated and explored.

But I do think that there's a pretty consistent unification among Democrats. And luckily, we are broadly on most of these issues, agree not only with each other, but with the American people, which is one more reason why when we're keeping a focus on what we're actually going to do in office, we have an edge, compared to when it's just about the kind of show in Washington.

Q: Mayor Steve Mnuchin and and the Treasury Department are defying a subpoena now from the House Ways and Means Committee to basically get some of President Trump's tax returns. What should Congressman [inaudible] and Speaker Pelosi now do?

Well, when it comes to tactics, I will leave that to Congress. What I will say is that presidents ought to release their tax returns anyway, so should candidates. We released ours, not that there was much to see there. But I put it out there, because I think that that's a norm that we should all follow.

And if there's a legitimate investigative purpose for seeing them, then so much more reason for them to come out. But the best thing I can do about the President's refusal to respect rules, norms, and laws, is to defeat him. And that's what our focus is for 2020.

Q: You said you wanted to pass legislation on guns, and how are you going to be able to do that when President Obama couldn’t after Newtown?

Well, one thing that's happened, I think, is that the NRA’s power is diminished, and Americans have reached more and more of a consensus on common sense gun reform.

Remember, something on the order of 90% of Americans, probably 80% of Republicans believe, for example, that we ought to have universal background checks. So if Congress can't deliver that, that reflects a political failure across our system.

Partly, it's the result of things like gerrymandering, and money and politics that help explain how you could have so much daylight between the Congress and the American people.

Part of it also, I think, represents an opportunity, I think one of the best uses of Air Force One is to fly in the district of somebody who's doing the wrong thing, at odds not only with my view, but with his or her own district, and remind voters of that.

And I think even compared to 10 years ago, there's a real opportunity here for common sense reform, on so many issues. The trick is we need to actually be talking about the issues and what they mean to people, instead of just about the ups and downs of what's happening inside the beltway.

Q: You spoke a little bit inside about the language that's going on with Iran right now the language used by the administration, how worried are you that we are headed to war with the country?

A: Well, on one hand, we have a president who seems to be attempting to signal that this is not the direction he wants to go in. On the other hand, you have some questions of who's really in charge of foreign policy in this country right now, to the extent that we even have a foreign policy.

And as long as some of the architects of the Iraq War, some of the most hawkish foreign policy leaders of our time, are deep inside this administration too, I have low confidence that this administration has what it takes to deal with pressures to escalate, especially when you see whether it's there, or in Asia, or in Latin America, more and more of this kind of escalating language.

And sometimes an escalation can get away from you. It's not enough just to have a president who's not enthusiastic about going to war. We also have to have a White House that understands how to manage pressures that could lead to an escalation, whether it's their policy to get into a conflict or not. I have low confidence that this administration is capable of doing that. It's one more reason we need a different kind of President. Ideally, one who knows personally, what it means to be sent off to war.

Thanks, everyone.

TRANSCRIPT: Kirsten Gillibrand 5/6/2019

Hi guys,

If you’re not on Senator Gillibrand’s campaign-specific mailing list, they sent out a transcript of her comments on the abortion ban. I’ve attached it below.

— Marcus

I’m proud to be in Georgia today, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with these women and the millions of people around the country who are outraged and fighting for our reproductive and civil rights.

Thank you all for joining us here, and for all the tireless work you have already done and are doing to protect access to healthcare for Georgians.

You all are leaders in this fight and I am joining you. I am here to learn from you, and I intend to use my platform to shine a light on what’s happening here in Georgia, and the deeply personal and troubling impact it’s having on women here. And I will lead the fight for women's civil rights across the country.

Right now, entirely too much of the conversation about what women can do with our own bodies is being driven by a group of right-wing male politicians. It’s time for that conversation to be led by the actual experts: women and doctors.

So I’m here today to speak to the people who are most directly affected by these horrifying bills, and make sure as many people as possible can hear their voices.

I feel deeply moved by the stories I heard today. About the mom who was so worried about her life and the life of her child and had to make the most heart wrenching decisions she could possibly make. These are the stories of the reality of women across America. And of the male legislator who said ‘why are men making all these decisions?’ It’s an outrage. And in Alabama, all white men made a decision to criminalize basic health care.

It’s clear that the laws passing here in Georgia, and in states across the country, represent the greatest threat to reproductive freedom we have faced since Roe v. Wade.

And we know that this is not a hypothetical threat. As we heard from the doctor’s behind us- from the providers. They know what it’s like to lose patients. From the advocates who said when you make abortion illegal, it doesn’t stop abortion, it just stops save abortions. Women’s lives will be in danger if legislation like Georgia’s is allowed to stand, especially for low-income women, black women and women of color will suffer the most.

That is why we must come together to declare that reproductive rights are human rights, they are civil rights, and they are nonnegotiable.

The horrifying fact is that this is not just happening in Georgia. Just last night, the governor of Alabama signed a law that completely outlaws almost all abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. It criminalizes doctors and threatens them with life in prison for providing patients with basic health care.

Already this year, Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky have all passed six-week abortion bans, with similar bills introduced in 10 other states. These are just some of the over 250 bills filed across the majority of state legislatures to restrict abortion access—just this year.

We need to call this what it is: A nationwide assault on women’s constitutional rights, by ideological extremists who have no right to make these most intimate and personal decisions a woman or a family can make.

And they have one end goal: Overturning Roe v. Wade, and turning back the clock on women’s civil rights and human rights in this country.

As a candidate, Donald Trump said he would punish women for accessing abortion, and as president, he’s made good on that promise by stacking the Supreme Court with anti-choice extremists Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Over in Alabama, the lieutenant governor said the quiet part out loud about this: He fully admitted that the ban is intended to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. All while the Supreme Court overturned a 40 year precedent in another case putting Roe at even graver risk.

This is a battle being waged on all fronts, and that’s where we have to fight it: in the courts, in the states, in Congress, and in the White House.

We will fight back.

There are two key ways we need to fight back: at the ballot box, and by standing up for an unequivocally pro-choice agenda.

State elections matter. The people who represent us in our state houses are making important decisions that affect our lives just as much as Congress—and we need to make sure decisions aren’t being made about us, without us.

In Alabama, women make up just 15 percent of the legislature—among the worst gender ratios in the country.

But let’s be very clear: In order to make sure all of our voices are heard, we have to fight attempts to suppress the votes of people of color and young people. We can’t defend the rest of our civil rights if we don’t protect our right to vote.

Second, as president, I will both defend reproductive rights from political attacks and make guaranteeing and expanding those rights my priority.

Last week, I was the first presidential candidate to roll out a robust reproductive rights agenda. I will only nominate judges — including Supreme Court justices — who will commit to upholding Roe v. Wade as settled law.

I’m going a significant step further today, because as Republicans continue to attack our rights, I’m sick and tired of being on defense. I’m sick and tired of taking one step back everyday. I’m sick and tired of more and more women across the country losing access to health care.

So today I’m making clear that enough is enough. As President I will take the following key steps to ensure that every woman in America - no matter what state she lives in, or how much money she has in her pocket - can have guaranteed access to safe, legal abortion.

First, as President, I will codify Roe v. Wade into law to make it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that women in this country have a guaranteed right to abortion.

Second, I will end the Hyde Amendment, which disproportionately blocks women of color and women with low incomes from getting access to abortion services.

And third, in the most sweeping step I’d take as president, I will guarantee access to reproductive healthcare – including abortion – no matter what state you live in.

I would ensure that no state can prevent private insurance from covering abortion as reproductive healthcare.

I would create a funding stream to ensure reproductive health center access in every state and every region of the country.

And I would ensure that no state can pass laws that chip away at access to reproductive care or criminalize reproductive healthcare providers. Federal law would supersede those harmful state laws that take away women’s reproductive freedom.

I believe access to abortion is a constitutionally recognized right, and I’m not afraid to follow through and guarantee it with the power of the federal government.

This is about the fundamental question of whether we value women and see them as human beings equal to anyone else—and any Democrat who expects to win the presidency must answer definitively.

Finally, we must continue to support the local organizations, women we heard from today, who are fighting this fight on the frontlines of our communities, in communities like Atlanta and across the country. They are putting everything on the line to provide this deeply necessary health care to people who need it—women of color, low-income women, young people and LGBTQ people in particular.

I’m proud that I am in this fight and I am proud that I am supported by the activists behind me and I am proud to be supported by the millions of men and women who do not support these radical bans on women’s reproductive freedoms.  

I’ll tell you one thing. If this is a fight that President Trump wants. If this is a fight that he wants with the American people, if this is a fight that he wants with  America’s women - it is a fight he will have and it is a fight he will lose.

TRANSCRIPT: Pete Buttigieg 5/16/2019

Hi party people,

Some news was made at Pete Buttigieg’s event this afternoon in Chicago, and he also used a ton of new material. If you want to skip to the newsy parts, search for:

  • “Iran”

  • “Alabama”

  • “our party”

The following is a transcript of Pete Buttigieg’s speech in Chicago on 5/16/2019.


Thank you very much. Please. Thank you. Thank you very much, thank you for the kind introduction, the kind invitation, thank you Jay Doherty for hosting us, I want to acknowledge Frank Paul for cooking up the idea and bringing me here and persuading somebody else to go along with it, so thank you to Frank.

It’s a real pleasure to be back in Chicago, when I was a consultant, I lived at Wabash & State, I worked at -- between Clark and Dearborn and Monroe. I guess I was between Wabash and State on Monroe, so I had a one-block commute, which I have not been able to replicate and we’re really here in spectacular weather by what amounts to midwestern standards. As you know, I’m from South Bend, Indiana, you get on Lake Shore -- [inaudible] that’s more than [inaudible].

One thing I find myself doing is as mayor, is explaining South Bend a little bit to people who don’t know our city, to people [inaudible]. Our magnificent University of Notre Dame which sits technically outside city limits but we’re very happy to claim. And yet because of that, people sometimes assume that we must be a tidy, wealthy, homogenous college town, which is of course, not our story. Our story is that of a company town that had to figure out -- for the balance of my lifetime -- what to do when you lose your company.

And in that sense, we are typical of so many communities in the industrial Midwest that were left wondering what their future was going to look like. The Studebaker Car Company stopped making cars 20 years before I was born.

And yet 30 years after that, when I was running for mayor, some people were still talking about it, as if -- if we could only get some version of Studebaker back making cars again, our city would be all right.

That was how profound the blow of losing some of those jobs had been for us.

And what we had to face was that the future wasn't going to look like the past. That the way out of the abandoned factories and the collapsing homes and the population loss and the reduced income wasn't to try to dredge greatness out of some impossible again, but rather to make sure that the future look different from the past.

And that's what we've been able to achieve as a city in the last 10 years. I'm so proud of it. I won't subject you to a full accounting of all of the things we're pleased with, from the parks and recreation upgrades to being able to double down on our boast of having the smartest wastewater system in the world.

But what I will do is let you know that we're growing, that our population is growing, that our economy is growing, that we are seeing people lifted out of poverty. We're not there yet. We’ve got a long way to go in our city. We're celebrating the fact that our per capita personal income has finally gone back above $20,000 in our community, but we're also seeing that our neighborhoods have become cleaner and safer.

We're seeing a downtown come back to life. In the same way that downtowns in the biggest cities have come back to life. There wasn’t much to do after hours when I made that choice to live in the Loop in 2007. Miller's would -- would give you a spinach pie and that that was about it.

Now I come back, and I find that even though the heart of the commercial business district of this city feels like a neighborhood in some ways, and we've seen that that smaller cities can experience that growth too, but only if we properly balance what's happening in our neighborhoods and our lowest income areas, with the tremendous potential of the return to our downtowns.

What really made it work in South Bend was recognizing that we couldn't just make South Bend great again, that, that we couldn't rewind, that we had to accept that the future was going to be different than the past. Be honest about it. Be honest that certain things were not coming back. But we were, and then talk about how.

That's why I think there's no such thing as an honest politics built around the word again.

But I do believe that there can be a very optimistic politics for the industrial Midwest. And it's so important at a time when we were being characterized by the White House and caricatured sometimes -- by the commentators -- as a place where the only way to our heart is through nostalgia, and through resentment.

I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we are living through a moment of tectonic change, change so profound that even in this moment, we may well be underreacting. I think that we have the good and bad fortune of living in a moment that will be as memorable as the beginning of the New Deal, or the beginning of the Reagan era.

In other words, what will happen in the next three or four years could set the tone for what will happen in the next 30 or 40. And it's one of the things that motivated me to make the admittedly improbable choice of stepping up as a late 30s Midwestern mayor, to run for President of the United States, not admittedly an obvious career move. And I get that.

We were not sure just how many people would take us seriously when I proposed the exploratory committee publicly at a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington in January.

And yet what we’ve seen since then, is that our message is resonating… that the people welcome and embrace the idea of a different kind of leadership. Yes, it is traditional to be marinated in Washington for a few more years before you step up for the presidency.

We're actually living in a moment that's kind of a season for local leadership. It's a season for local leadership because that's where things get done.

Consider this. Our national government shut down over a policy disagreement. Can you imagine if that happened to a city government? How long would the mayor be able to physically remain in city limits after the city stop delivering water, which you need to live? It's unthinkable. Not that our politics aren't ferocious and intense… I am, after all, addressing a Chicago audience.

And yet, even in our most ferociously contested moments, you don't talk about a city government shutting down, we just have to get it done.

And it's one of the reasons I believe our task is to start to get Washington to look a little more like our best run cities and towns before the reverse starts to happen. Because I fear that that is exactly the trajectory we might be on.

Also know that our part of the country isn't known for producing a lot of Democrats, certainly a lot of progressives, [inaudible] is precisely for that reason, that I want the country to hear voices from Midwestern states like ours, from conservative states like mine. And it's why I think there needs to be a new generation stepping up too. You know, my generation -- currently, is on track to be the first in American history to earn less than our parents, if we don't do something to change the trajectory.

If you were born when my mother was born, 1945, you had a 90% shot of coming out ahead of your parents, you could more or less assume that that would happen. And for us, it's a coin flip. Some parts of the country not far from where we're gathered, it's less than 50/50.

And so we've got to make sure that that generation is putting forward leaders too. After all, but also the generation that produced the bulk of the troops after 9/11. We're the generation that -- we're not the ones who invented the internet, we figured out some pretty interesting things to do with it.

Many of them beneficial.


Some of them not.

[more laughter]

All the more reason why it's of tremendous importance that the people in the policy world in charge of figuring out the left and right boundaries for that have a sense of what it is they're regulating. Not that you have to be from a new generation to do it. Again. It's an older generation that actually invented this stuff, but that we have to pay attention to and it can't hurt to have some digital natives entering that conversation, not just in the business and philanthropy world, but in the policy world too.

So having that different background, that background of a millennial Midwestern mayor, I think has equipped me to offer maybe a different vocabulary for what my party stands for. And I do not seek to shift the center of gravity morally of where my party is. But I do think it would make sense for us to find new ways to talk about it. And it's the main thing I want to discuss with you before we go to questions.

There's a lot of hand-wringing over whether Democrats are capable of expressing themselves in bumper sticker language. We are given to long and elaborate policy discussion sometimes. That's that's not a demerit. We're policy people. We ought to be. Policies are how we do good in this world.

But sometimes I fear, we have neglected to vindicate the values that motivate our policies. Something that I think the right -- for at least as long as I've been alive -- has been highly effective at doing.

So part of what I'm trying to do is reintroduce the values that help to explain why we believe what we believe, so that even people who maybe have different values or have different conclusions on policy, understand that we came by our views honestly. And it's why I think that this campaign, largely, must be about freedom.

Now, when you think of freedom, when you think of liberty, and you think of whose lips you would expect it to be on in the political world today, you're mostly going to think of people from the right. You're going to think of our conservative friends, who are preoccupied with making sure that the government does not restrain our freedom too much.

And often that leads to positions on taxes, positions on regulation, that suppose that if government is the opposite of freedom, then less government means more freedom.

Although it turns out that there are some -- some exceptions to this rule. Some of which we’re observing in the American South today. Now, I come from Indiana, as a Democrat. There are people I love people I trust people who support me politically, who view this issue differently than I do. But I must say that I don't think that you are free in this country if your reproductive health can be criminalized by government.

This is not an easy choice for anybody to face. And I would be loath to tell anybody facing that situation. What the right thing to do is but that's exactly the point. I'm a government official. I don't view myself as belonging in that conversation, and to see an Alabama that if someone is raped and she seeks an abortion, the doctor who treats her will be penalized with a longer prison term than her rapist, makes me question whether the discussion about freedom in this country has gone off the rails.

Let me though suggests that there is more to freedom on the left or on the right than just getting government out of the way.

One of the reasons we invented government as a species is because there are certain freedoms we don't enjoy unless we have policies that tear down the obstacles to us living the life of our choosing. Even the most unglamorous things that mayors work on, day in and day out, wastewater and water, I believe are things that enhance our freedom. Because we have municipal authorities worrying about that sort of thing, so we don't have to.

But it's also why you're not free. As we learned in Flint, if you have to wonder whether a glass of water that comes out of the tap is going to poison you and your family.

It's providing basic services. And it's providing some measure of assurance that the rights that you have in this country and in this life will be secured. It’s why I think health care is freedom. I think you're not free if the United States has failed to ensure, that you might, for example, be able to start a small business, leaving your old job and starting a new one without fearing that that means you'll lose your healthcare.

I think that you're not free as a consumer. If a financial institution is caught ripping you off, and you don't have any recourse because you've been forced into arbitration.

I certainly think that freedom in this country for people of color has been constrained both by policies and by institutional racism in ways that will not get better just by saying we're going to get government out of the way. If we don't figure out how to lift the veil of mistrust, for example, between communities of color, and the law enforcement officers sworn to keep them safe, how can we really say that we're enjoying freedom?

And, of course, on a more personal note, I don't think that you can really say that you're free if a county clerk is to tell you who you ought to marry based on their view of their own religion.

So let's talk about freedom in its richest sense, and recognize that good government can help make you free. Just as much as bad government can help make you unfree. And that how big or small it is, is only the beginning of the conversation.

I want to talk about security because that's another thing that I think has been maybe monopolized by our friends on the right, as though security or the flag or patriotism belong to one political party.

I think that's all the more reason people in my party ought to be talking about security. First of all, traditional security issues have not gone away.

We see what's going on in the vicinity of Iran right now. To give just one example, we've got to ask ourselves whether this administration is capable of stating what the bar is before you even talk about sending U.S. troops into a conflict. And I say that as somebody who went into a war zone on the orders of the U.S. President, and by the way, was willing to do that.

Because that's part of the promise you make when you raise your right hand, you don't know who the President's going to be in a few years, let alone what their policies will be. But when I left Afghanistan in 2014, I thought I was turning out the lights. I thought I was one of the last to go. It's five years later, we're still there. You could be old enough to enlist and not have been alive on 9/11.

And the next presidents got to be ready in the name of U.S. security to put an end to endless war.

Day before yesterday we did -- we did an event with young men and women signing their commitment letters to go into the military. Some go into the academy, some are enlisting right away, some are joining the guard. And on one sense it’s very happy occasion. It makes me understand in the way that somebody who has served inevitably and sometimes unbearably gets around young people starting to serve.

And I was very proud of them and their parents were there. And the school principals were there it’s a great event.

But then there's this other voice in the back of my head actually not so different than the voice that was in my back the back of my head when I saw high school students from the same high schools in our city, gathering together in the March For Our Lives to demand better action on gun safety and the voice in the back of my -- said, “Yeah--” And the voice in the back of my head saying, “Do not let these kids down. Do not play games with their lives. This is not a game. It is not a show.”

And we better make sure that the security decisions made by the President are based not on domestic politics, but on what is the right thing for this nation and particularly those who have agreed to defend it with their lives.

And that's just the traditional stuff we talk about when we think about security. This is the 21st century. That means security means cybersecurity. And one thing that will not help on cybersecurity is putting up a wall from sea to shining sea doesn't -- doesn't keep out the bits and bytes.

There's a human factor as well as the technical side to cybersecurity. And we've got to be on top. We got to worry about election security. Our elections are the thing that keep us safe. Our elections a lot more than a collection of rifles, for example, our elections are the thing that see to it that our government works for us, and not the other way around. And our elections for that very reason, have been attacked. So what are we doing to secure our elections?

And what are we doing to look after security in the face of a rising tide of violent white nationalism asserting itself at home and around the world? That's security too. That’s security in a really big way.

And we had better be talking about what may well be the biggest security imperative of our time, which is climate security. There's evidence that there's evidence that the Syrian civil war began partly because of forced migration patterns that happened as a result of drought and other issues connected to climate.

The same story is increasingly coming -- coming into focus when it comes to the rise of Boko Haram in Africa.

We probably would not have as many migrants at our borders from Central American countries. If it weren't for climate disruption.

I myself and the city of South Bend had to activate our Emergency Operations Center twice in less than two years. One of them was for the thousand year flood and the other was for the 500 year flood.

Now, I did not major in math but I do have an iPhone and I got a calculator app on it.

And if my math is right, and if it's wrong, somebody here will tell me I'm sure. But if it's right, the odds of that happening are 125,000 to one, unless, of course, something has changed in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, just like they warned us in the 70s in the 80s, and the 90s, just like they're warning us now.

And so I think if -- we need to start having the debate, not over whether but how to adapt, is the people debating whether we ought to do it are going to be left behind. That's a security imperative, adapting and preventing it from getting worse. So let's stop talking about freedom and security like they belong on one side of the aisle. And let's have an adult conversation about what it's going to take to do something about that in our century.

And in order for that to happen. It brings me to democracy. We like to think of ourselves as democracy. We'd like to think that democracy was one of the things that was on the line in some of our nation's finest moments from its very founding to the way that we played a role in beating back tyranny around the world during the time of World War II.

But are we really a democracy? needless to say, our democracy has always been imperfect. There have been patterns of exclusion in our democracy from the very beginning. But I think it would be fair to say on balance most of the time, if you zoom all the way out that most of us would be able to -- not all -- but most, most Americans over the years would be able to say that America became at least a little more democratic by the end of their lives than it was at the beginning.

And I'm very concerned that if you're my age, might not be able to say that.

We see a rollback of voting rights, largely motivated by people who seem to have included as a partisan matter, that they would be more likely to win if fewer people were likely to vote. And to me, that's an indication that your policies probably need a look.

But we've seen this happen systematically with voter ID laws with making it harder to open up. Closing polling places in certain areas, closing too early…

With all of the obstacles to voting, we are one of the toughest countries to vote in. In Indiana. When you go to the polling place -- did it last week -- we had our primary, start picking my successor in South Bend, there's a big poster in the window that says, stop. And then it tells you about all the terrible things will happen to you if you're voting with invalid ID or -- or so forth. Stop. Is that the message we want to send? About our democracy? Stop? You're on your way to vote and exercise your right people put their lives on the line to defend -- ? Stop. I don't think so.

By the way, there's some really basic structural things in addition to the obstruction that we've just tolerated because we're just used to it. Can anybody make a principled argument why fellow U.S. citizens living in Washington D.C., or for that matter, Puerto Rico have less political representation than we do? Doesn't make any sense.

Can anyone a principled argument why districts ought to be drawn so the politicians can choose their voters instead of the other way around. I can't think of any.

And for my dime, whether you live in a rather blue state or a rather red one, at risk of sounding simplistic, one thing that would be fitting for democracy, when it chooses its national leader, is to elect the President by just counting up all the votes and then giving it to whoever had the most.

That way everybody's vote counts the same. I don't know how you put a thumb on the scale one way or the other and say that it's fair. So let's just count everybody the same. Some of these incredibly simple things don't seem to get much traction in our current environment, which is precisely why our environment needs to change.

I would say we need to change the channel from the show that we've all been watching. And that's my response to this presidency. You notice I didn't talk about it much. It's not because I don't think about it rather often. It's -- it's that you don't even get a presidency like this unless something's wrong.

This, by the way, is one reason people in my party need to recognize that some smoking gun proof that the President's not a good guy will not change much.

A lot of people -- at least where I live -- voted with their eyes wide open for a guy they didn't much care for, in order to send a message that they wanted to burn the house down.

Which is also why any suggestion that our party's message ought to be, a promise to return to normal overlooks the extent to which normal hasn't been working for a lot of people. Now, what we've got now isn't working either.

But that's exactly why we've got to create a new normal. So we're not going to go on that show. We're not going to play that game. We're going to change the channel. And that's what my campaign is about.

Let me close just by mentioning a word that is falling out of fashion, but I think it's as important as ever. And that's hope.

Because you don't do this if you don't have some measure of hope. Running for office is an act of hope. In a certain sense, taking the time to watch somebody talk at you who's running for office is an act of hope.

And voting is and volunteering is. You don't do this unless you think there's some way to make the pulleys and levers of our system work better, and make people better off. And when you do that, when you get it right -- not that anybody's ever had it perfect -- but when you get it right, then I think the freedom, the security, and the democracy we live with will be greatly enhanced so that we will in fact, by 2054, when I'm entering my retirement and celebrating the fact that I've reached the current age of the current President, that I'll be able to look back at 2020. and say, “This is when things really started moving on to a good path for our country.”

And that's how you will know that we succeeded not just in an election, but in defining an era and that's why I'm doing this. So thanks for coming.

TRANSCRIPT: Pete Buttigieg press gaggle 5/16/2019

Hi friends,

During his gaggle about an hour ago, Pete Buttigieg addressed DeBlasio entering the race, some Biden stuff, and the Alabama abortion ban. This was less newsy than the speech itself which is jam-packed with new stuff. That transcript coming soon.


Q: Are you going to require your judicial nominees to uphold Roe?

A: Well, certainly a consistent judiciary -- judicial philosophy of mine would lead in that direction. So I don't know exactly what conversation or process with would establish that, but it's difficult for me to envision judicial appointee who did not have the same sense of freedom that I talked about in the speech.

Q: How are you going to keep your poll numbers and catch up with Joe Biden?

A: Well, we seem to be doing well, so far, certainly in terms of trajectory. And in many ways, I think this race is wide open. New entrants have been taken seriously. We've certainly been taken seriously. But when there are this many competitors, I don't think you're running against any one person. You're kind of competing against the field as well. So you got to have a good plan, work your plan and have the discipline to stick to your plan. And I think that's going to carry us through the nomination.

Q: Do you think that Joe Biden represents some of that normalcy that you talked about that voters have rejected. He's talking about restoring it. Does he represent the old way that you were you mentioned earlier?

A: I don't think that much about the others. I just think that the kind of message that somebody like me needs to propose is one of where we're heading. And the future is going to look very different.

We need to -- if there's anything we want to capture out of our past, it's the fact that the greatest leaders in our past had that quality of being focused on the future. And you're going to see that in our policies and in our language going forward.

Q: Mayor, do you support legislation codifying the constitutional rights for women to have an abortion?

I think that's -- I think that deserves to be taken seriously. I haven't seen the full range of ideas on how to do that. Some people think it has to be in the Constitution itself as a right to privacy, for example, obviously, that could be achieved legislatively, but with those rights under new assault, I think the full range of responses needs to be contemplated because we can't just keep having this play out one Supreme Court point at a time.

Q: Any reaction to Bill de Blasio joining the race this morning? Do you think it's getting crowded? Are there room for more candidates?

A: It was crowded when I got in it. So I think the more the merrier. And I do think this is a good moment for mayors to be stepping up. Obviously, all of the candidates are very different from one another in different ways. But it's a time when we need to be looking beyond Washington and holding up examples from local leadership.

Q: Is there a real risk that the Supreme Court will actually overturn Roe vs. Wade, if any of these laws come before the court?

A: I do -- I mean, this is one of the rationales that the current administration offers for life when pretty much everything about this President is anathema to the values of the -- for example -- of the religious right, and yet, he was able to build a coalition largely around a promise, explicit or implicit to overturn Roe.

This is, of course, precisely the intent of the Alabama law and the Georgia law. They know that under current case law, if you believe in the idea of [inaudible], that those laws are unconstitutional. They know it because they want to test the constitutionality with the new referee and see if they get a bit [inaudible.]

Q: [badly worded question about Iran]

A: Well, the relationship between what the President says and what the President does has always been suspect. What I know is that there appears to be the early makings of a military mobilization, consistent with the reporting we're seen of a push within this administration… led -- it would seem -- by some of the very same people who got us into the Iraq War, to create escalations that perhaps even the President himself might not be able to control.

[This] is why I think this is something that should be taken extremely seriously, and why I hope and pray that there are enough people in Congress to recognize that -- if there was ever a moment to stop Congress's abandonment of its own war powers and get on the record on this issue. It is now.

Q: Are you worried you're peaking too early?

A: It's not like we're in first place. So while I'm thrilled with the fact that we are obviously running ahead of a lot of better-known competitors and got a lot of favorable attention, and our organization is growing more and more strong in terms of recruiting and finance, it doesn't -- it doesn't take away from the fact that this is a long run, this is a marathon, we've got a long way to go. We are frankly ahead of where I hoped to be. But now we are right where I want to be.

And what you're going to see us doing in the coming months is making sure we consolidate the support that we have earned even more support and put the organization behind it. It's one thing to have a nice poll number or good day of press clips. What we really need is that on-the-ground, unglamorous blocking and tackling work, especially in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. And you'll see that in the -- our organizational and tactical focus going forward.

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