A high school teacher stumped former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Thursday when she asked what his most important issue was, and he struggled to answer.
After fumbling for a response, Buttigieg fell back on arguing that “the shape of our democracy” was the most important issue because it was connected to every other issue.
He explained that meant “getting money out of politics” — an odd response for a candidate who has raised money aggressively among the Silicon Valley elite.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo noted that Buttigieg had not really answered the question.
“I’ve disappointed a lot of high school teachers in my life, and I know the look on her face right now,” Cuomo quipped.
So Buttigieg tried again, praising a bill passed by House Democrats, H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” calling it a “pro-democracy, anti-corruption bill … to make sure that voting rights are secure, that districts are fair.”
Conservative critics have noted that H.R. 1 would change the rules of voting to impose California-style elections on the country to ensure more Democratic Party victories. (Some of the reforms Democrats favor were used in the recent Iowa caucuses, which were supposed to kick off “the most transparent primary in our history,” but which merely created chaos, confusion, and claims of vote-rigging.)
Cuomo noted again, playfully, that Buttigieg had failed to answer the question. “You’ve never gotten bad grades. As somebody who has, I’m just saying, look…”.
The Buttigieg campaign, however, released a meme on Twitter celebrating his response.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 7, 2020
Cuomo then asked Buttigieg how he would “make this one thing happen” — though Buttigieg had not identified precisely what that “one thing” was — if Republicans still controlled the Senate.
Buttigieg replied that he would campaign in the states of Republican Senators and reach out directly to their voters — something President Barack Obama did repeatedly in attempting to drum up support for his more controversial initiatives, to little avail.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.