2020 Democratic debates
The fourth Democratic debate will be make-or-break for many of the 12 candidates on stage Tuesday night, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg made sure to leave an impression. Curiously, though, he specifically drew praise from conservatives by pulling to the right of his more progressive opponents.
"Buttigieg, who opened with a civility pitch but got lost in the progressive shuffle, clearly sees an opening in the center again," tweeted American Conservative editor and The Week contributor Jim Antle. Liz Mair, a libertarian and Republican communications strategist, praised Buttigieg's answer to an impeachment question that came early in the debate, when the mayor observed that after an inquiry, "think about where we'll be — vulnerable, even more torn apart by politics than we are right now."
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer for The Washington Post, marveled at Buttigieg's performance, tweeting that the mayor was "hitting this out of the park, out of the town." Matt Lewis, a conservative columnist at The Daily Beast, added: "I don't pretend to know how this exchange plays on the left, but ... Pete Buttigieg is winning this debate."
The daughter of the late Republican Sen. John McCain, Meghan McCain, also cheered Buttigieg when he pushed back on former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's gun buyback proposal:
Many Democrats were, needless to say, less thrilled by Mayor Pete. "Buttigieg is getting closer to clinching the Republican nomination," quipped Farron Cousins, a co-host of the progressive Ring of Fire talk show.