Former President Barack Obama spoke with former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg in the wee hours of Monday morning, according to The Hill, just after Buttigieg announced that he’d be ending his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, likely in effort to press Buttigieg to endorse Obama’s former vice president, Joe Biden.
“Obama reportedly did not directly tell Buttigieg to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden,” The Hill said. “But he did tell the former South Bend, Ind., mayor that he now has leverage and should consider how to use it, a Democratic official familiar with the conversation told the [New York] Times,” which reported on the conversation Monday.
Buttigieg is likely to endorse Biden, perhaps at a rally in Dallas, Texas, on Monday night. A plane that regularly carries the former South Bend mayor registered a flight plan going from South Bend, Indiana, to Dallas on Monday afternoon. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who ended her presidential bid on Monday afternoon, is also expected to appear at the event.
“We need leadership to heal a divided nation, not drive us further apart,” Buttigieg said in his farewell speech, which stopped short of mentioning Biden specifically. “We need a broad based agenda to truly deliver for the American people, not one that gets lost in ideology. We need an approach strong enough not only to win the White House, but hold the House, win the Senate and send [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell into retirement.”
Buttigieg’s campaign held a meeting, where they “briefed top donors … about his plans to push forward in the presidential race, looking deep into the March primary calendar for friendly Midwestern states,” Politico reported Monday morning. Just hours later, though, Buttigieg told his staff that he planned to cash in on his bid.
Politico notes that Buttigieg was facing a “logjam” with other “moderate” candidates, that he was about to be in deep financial trouble, and had struggled with getting traction among key voter demographics — specifically African-American and other minority voters. The “money matters” were particularly difficult: although he asked his major donors for around $13 million to help move his operation forward, he only raised a little more than 60% of that.
Obama, though, seems to have been the force behind Buttigieg’s decision to back Biden, and the former president seems to have stepped up involvement in the Democratic primary, though he’s (so far) stopped short of endorsing Biden. He did call his former vice president Saturday night to congratulate him on his big win in South Carolina.
Months ago, before any primary ballots had been cast, Obama reportedly told a group of Democratic donors that he’d “step in” if he felt Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was in danger of snagging the party’s presidential nomination, and he repeatedly warned left-leaning voters that Sanders’ agenda was too progressive for voters in Rust Belt and battleground states — voters who also happen to be the key to unseating President Donald Trump.
It does seem as though Obama is making good on his promise.
Author: Emily Zanotti