On Thursday South Bend's mayor made an appearance on CBS This Morning.
Pete Buttigieg talked about his possibility of a 2020 presidential bid and his new book, "Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future."
Mayor Buttigieg launched a presidential exploratory committee last week.
When asked what qualifies him to be president, Buttigieg said he has more experience than the current president of the United States.
The mayor also reiterating his view that we need to get away from the electoral college. Saying it has made our country less and less democratic.
Here is a transcript of the interview:
NORAH O’DONNELL: The Iowa caucuses are 368 days away, and the potential field of democratic candidates is quickly growing. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, launched a presidential exploratory committee last week. The 37-year-old has spent seven years in charge of the city he grew up in. He's a Harvard graduate, he’s a Rhodes Scholar. He’s known as Mayor Pete. He was also deployed to Afghanistan for seven months with the U.S. Navy Reserve. And he’s got a new book out called "Shortest Way Home: one mayor's challenge, and a model for America’s future." we have the interview you'll see first on "CBS This Morning." Mayor Buttigieg, welcome.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Good morning thanks for having me.
NORAH O’DONNELL: How's—how’s the great state of Indiana?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: A bit chilly, but other than that we are good.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Very cold indeed. I also wanted to start by giving our condolences. I know your father passed away on Sunday.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. Appreciate that. I know he would have been watching if he could.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Thank you for being here, so you're 37. Uh your town-- you represent a town of 102,000 people. Did I get that right?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: That’s about right. Yeah.
NORAH O’DONNELL: What qualifies you to be President of the United States?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well for starters, the experience. I know that I’m the youngest person in this conversation, but I think the experience of leading a city through a transformation is really relevant right now. Look, I’ve got more experience in government than the president of the United States. I’ve got more years of executive experience than the Vice President. I have more military experience than anybody who's arrived behind that desk since George H.W. Bush. I get that it's not a conventional background, but I don't think this is a time for conventional backgrounds in Washington right now.
JOHN DICKERSON: Can you explain to people what that experience means when the rubber meets the road. What -- how's that going to help people in this country?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: See the instinct to do the job. So whether we're talking about the presidency or a job like governor or mayor, you know, there are three parts to it. It’s bringing people together, it's implementing good policies, and it's capably running an administration. All of those have been missing right now in Washington. And I think, you know, American mayors in cities of any size, I think represent one of the levels, maybe the only level of American government left that's generally working well.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Well we all like to say that all politics are local. But the last time that a sitting mayor was nominated for President to a major party was 1812.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yeah.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Why should you be different? Why should you be the outlier?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: I mean that’s doing better than the last time a reality TV star was elected president, right? Things are changing tectonically in our country. And we can't just keep doing what we've been doing. We can't nibble around the edges of the system that no longer works. The experience of the industrial Midwest is exactly the kind of experience that uh politics, forgive me, but here on the coast uh has been ignoring. And especially in my party, that's come at a terrible cost.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Let's talk about something that you're familiar with and obviously that's time serving overseas in Afghanistan. You spent seven months there. What do you think of the president's potential plan now of moving troops back home?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, we've got to get out of Afghanistan. I mean, there are people we are now old enough almost to be deployed who weren't even born when 9/11 took place. We’ve also got to make sure that the way we do it doesn't leave us vulnerable as some Intel assessments have said we would be, to being attacked again within two years if we allow terrorist networks to develop in a failed state. It’s a good sign that the Taliban is willing to talk, and if they're serious about putting their weapons aside, that could be a pathway to peace. But, I’m a little puzzled that we haven’t had the Afghan government itself that we recognize as a legitimate government at the table. We’ve got to make sure that they're involved because any peace we come up with could very quickly collapse if we don't have them as a party.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Those peace talks have not included that?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: It's shuttle diplomacy, right? They go – they sit down with the Taliban in Doha, then you know, we’re told that Khalilzad was conferring with the Afghan government, giving them, I guess a heads-up. But, we’ve got to find a way to get them to the table.
JOHN DICKERSON: When you talk about nibbling around the edges, if you look at the other Democrats who are running, they're not nibbling around the edges. They’re talking about Medicare for all. Some are talking about getting rid of private insurance. So, that’s the competition you have. So what is your idea that it is so big that it -- nobody would mistake it for nibbling around the edges?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, first of all, we've got to repair our democracy. The Electoral College needs to go because it's made our society less and less democratic. Now we can talk about a lot of different policy ideas, and will on everything from security to health care. But you know, our party has this tendency to lead with the policies, go to the 14-point plan and give you the binders and the power points. First we've got to explain our values and explain why democrats are, are committed to freedom, to democracy, to security. That democracy piece has to be fixed before anything else will go well in this country.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Just to, just to clarify what John was asking about -- do you support Medicare for all?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: I do. I also think that on the road to get there, there are a lot of things not being talked about enough.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Mayor Bloomberg, who likely joined the race, says it would bankrupt the country.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, it would bankrupt this country if we didn't pay for it. And right now in Washington, a lot of things are being done that aren't paid for. By the way, my generation's the one that's going to face the bill for that. So as somebody who's, god willing, planning to be here in 2054 when I reach the current age of the current president, I care a lot about making sure that anything we do is sustainable. But this is the norm in most developed countries. So the idea that it is radical or impossible to do something that the citizens of most western countries already enjoy, that just doesn't add up to me. If other people can have that, why can't Americans have that, too?
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: That’s conversation that many in this country are currently having right now, including potential president hopefuls. Thank you so much. Again, our condolences on the loss of your father.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Appreciate it, thank you.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: “Shortest Way Home" comes out on February 12th.