‘Let That Set in’; CNN’s Bolduan Falls for ‘Emotional’ Buttigieg ‘Making History’

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‘Let That Set in’; CNN’s Bolduan Falls for ‘Emotional’ Buttigieg ‘Making History’

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Finding himself early Tuesday evening in first place following the first wave of results from the epically disastrous Iowa caucuses, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was treated to soft, warm interview with CNN’s At This Hour host Kate Bolduan imploring the “emotional” 2020 Democrat to “let” his first place standing “set in.”

Bolduan also reminisced over a February 2019 interview she conducted with Buttigieg and husband Chasten as he had just launched his campaign then to now as he’s “making history in this moment.”

Early on, things seemed straightforward with Bolduan asking Buttigieg moments after concluding a campaign appearance about what he made of the early results and whether he should be declaring “victory” with 38 percent of the vote still yet to be revealed. 

Bolduan then handed out the first of two giant rhetorical valentines: “Look, I’ve been following you not only throughout your campaign but all throughout today and on-stage just now, you became emotional in the moment talking. What does this moment mean?”

Oof.

A flattered Buttigieg replied “it’s extraordinary” and “a moment that we have been building towards from when we first opened that exploratory committee with four people in a tiny office in South Bend, no big e-mail list, no personal fortune, no campaign money either.”

Bolduan kept up the fluff, reflecting back on this interview she did with both the mayor and his husband (click “expand”):

BOLDUAN: But look, it was almost a year ago to the day that we were sitting on your couch in your living, with Chasten —

BUTTIGIEG: That’s right.

BOLDUAN: — in South Bend and now you are making history in this moment. 

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. 

BOLDUAN: Just let that set in and what does that mean? You are, with the first contest in the rear view mirror, you are the leading candidate right now. 

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. Yep. It’s extraordinary and, you know, it also I hope means something to a lot of people wondering if they fit, people who are different, people who don’t know if they belong in their community or in their family. This is proof you can believe in yourself and in your country.

Folks, we’ve seen this movie before. This was Obama-like love for Buttigieg, so watch out, Bernie bros!

For the record, here were Bolduan’s other three questions that wrapped the interview (click “expand”):

Look. If it’s not first out of Iowa, does second place change your reaction? 

(….)

Does the messy way that this has rolled out, does this rob you of momentum that you might otherwise have coming out of Iowa heading into New Hampshire where we are now. 

(….)

Look, still waiting for more results to come in tonight, maybe tonight. Who knows to be honest how this plays out. From Iowa, from the results that you are seeing, how does it shift your focus here in New Hampshire? 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on February 4, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
February 4, 2020
6:13 p.m. Eastern

KATE BOLDUAN: Hey there, Wolf. Thanks so much. Pete Buttigieg here with me right now, fresh off the stage — literally fresh off the stage. Mayor, thanks for being here. 

PETER BUTTIGIEG: Sure thing. 

BOLDUAN: And right after you saw these partial initial results coming out of Iowa you said better late than ever from the stage. What do you say? 

BUTTIGIEG: Well, it amounts to a remarkable victory for our campaign’s vision and message and I’m just so humbled by the support that we got from, as far as I can tell and I haven’t seen the very latest map, but as far as I can tell, every different part of the state, different kinds of communities, a lot of those counties that famously switched from President Obama to Trump and now we need to bring back into the fold, it’s just an extraordinary validation for our belief that we can unify people to lead and to win in an election that we can’t afford to lose. 

BOLDUAN: Any regrets of using the word victorious now? 

BUTTIGIEG: Not at all. I mean, this is definitely a victory for this campaign. I know we’ve got some more math coming in, but any way you cut it for a campaign that folks said no business even daring to try to get on the stage a year ago, we’ve been able to do something extraordinary, and it’s a credit to the team, to the organizers that we had, to the values that they carried as they engaged with caucusgoers and above all I think to the vision that we are offering, to turn the page and move to the future.

BOLDUAN: Look, I’ve been following you not only throughout your campaign but all throughout today and on-stage just now, you became emotional —

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. 

BOLDUAN: — in the moment talking. What does this moment mean? 

BUTTIGIEG: It’s extraordinary. This is a moment that we have been building towards from when we first opened that exploratory committee with four people in a tiny office in South Bend, no big e-mail list, no personal fortune, no campaign money either. I mean, te had to build this thing from scratch and to see how far we’ve come, what we’ve been able to do — again, it’s the end of the beginning. There’s a long road ahead but again, it shows you the power of having a message and connecting with voters, with caucus-goers, who spend a year working you over, kicking the tires on your ideas, looking you in the eyes, and just the ability to earn that support is so moving. 

BOLDUAN: But look, it was almost a year ago to the day that we were sitting on your couch in your living, with Chasten —

BUTTIGIEG: That’s right.

BOLDUAN: — in South Bend and now you are making history in this moment. 

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. 

BOLDUAN: Just let that set in and what does that mean? You are, with the first contest in the rear view mirror, you are the leading candidate right now. 

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. Yep. It’s extraordinary and, you know, it also I hope means something to a lot of people wondering if they fit, people who are different, people who don’t know if they belong in their community or in their family. This is proof you can believe in yourself and in your country.

BOLDUAN: Look. If it’s not first out of Iowa, does second place change your reaction? 

BUTTIGIEG: No, I mean, look at where we are. I mean to have come from where we’ve come from to be part of such a remarkable field of Democrats who I have different ideas from but also admire and respect deeply and now to the front of this process, it’s — well, I don’t know what to call it other than a victory and a humbling one when you think about where we began. 

BOLDUAN: Does the messy way that this has rolled out, does this rob you of momentum that you might otherwise have coming out of Iowa heading into New Hampshire where we are now. 

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the single best piece of news our campaign got since we got into the race and it would have been nice to have gotten the news yesterday but I also think that, at the end of the day, this is about the road ahead. We have now been able to settle a lot of questions about what kind of organization we can put together and whether we could reach caucus-goes, voters, in many different kinds of places, but so much depends on what comes next. We got to make sure we have a fundraising surge. That’s why I’m always asking people to go to peteforamerica.com and chip in. We got to make sure that we have the right game plan and organizing game. Part of how we do this was the outreach that organizers were doing out to get to know people. We got to be ready to do that and more than anything else, continue to reach with that message to some folks who may only now be tuning into the process. People who were waiting until there are less than 20 of us to sort through, that we don’t have to choose between the best way to govern and the best way to win. The right way to do both of those things is to have a focus on the future. 

BOLDUAN: Look, still waiting for more results to come in tonight, maybe tonight. Who knows to be honest how this plays out. From Iowa, from the results that you are seeing, how does it shift your focus here in New Hampshire? 

BUTTIGIEG: Well, New Hampshire is a state that famously thinks for itself, doesn’t want to be told what to do and has a very strong independent streak. So it’s, again, a matter of making sure we find people where they are and we’ve prided ourselves in campaigning not just in — in — big communities like Manchester —

BOLDUAN: Sounds to me no change in strategy. 

BUTTIGIEG: — in many ways, it’s consistent. Look, the values of this campaign are going to be consistent, so is the overall approach but we recognize that every place is different. I mean, New England in particular. You know, here in New Hampshire we’re competing against competitors in neighboring states and that creates its own challenges but also know that when we look voters in the eye, tell them what the campaign is about, we get an extraordinary and powerful response. 

BOLDUAN: Mayor Buttigieg, thank you so much for being here. 

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for coming off the stage and coming right here. Really appreciate it.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you.

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