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Mayor Buttigieg releases memoir Sunday, fueling presidential speculation

WSBT 22 photo

A national book tour started today in South Bend as Mayor Pete Buttigieg kicked off the event at the Century Center.

About 800 people turned out for the event.

His memoir, "Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future," is a look at his life and his experience running the city of South Bend.

The mayor is hoping his book will introduce him to people outside of Indiana as he mulls over officially announcing his candidacy for president.

Buttigieg had the crowd on their feet as he launched his new book about his early life and career.

“You know, in many ways, I’m not sure who the main character in the book is...is it me or is it the city?” said Buttigieg.

The book claims to be a model for America's future.

Buttigieg says he hopes to showcase South Bend's successes and change the reputation of the Midwest.

“I think we’ve been characterized as a place that is kind of absorbed in nostalgia and only knows how to look backwards,” said Buttigieg. “I don’t think that’s true -- I certainly don’t think that’s true in South Bend.”

The mayor has been spending a lot of time in the national spotlight recently with several appearances on national networks.

He also spent the better part of the weekend campaigning in Iowa ahead of that state's first in the nation caucuses, raising questions about whether he can run for president and run the city.

“At the end of the day, this is my home,” said Buttigieg. “I have every reason to make sure that until the last day that I’m mayor, we’re doing a very good job all the way through.”

The mayor is widely considered an underdog with little experience, but he says he's fine with that.

"I think we want the federal government to start looking like our best-run cities and towns -- not the other way around,” said Buttigieg.

During his hour-long conversation in front of the packed house, the mayor hit his normal talking points about climate change, LGBT rights and abolishing the electoral college.

His message was well-received by the loyal audience, but some are skeptical about his chances of winning.

“It's going to be difficult for him to approach the country in that sense,” said Peggy Swhiart, South Bend resident. “I think it might take quite a long time, but he's just got some down-to-earth goals that are realistic. He's a very passionate man.”

While the mayor has not officially declared his candidacy, he says all signs are pointing that way.

“We are full steam ahead, every indication that we have seen has pointed toward that direction,” said Buttigieg.

Mayor Buttigieg will have another book signing at the St. Joseph County Library in downtown South Bend on March 13.

His campaign continues to get national attention. This week, he'll make an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

You can watch that on WSBT 22 starting at 11:35 p.m.

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