South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's resume in politics is deeper than he lets on.
The 2020 candidate has broken barriers as the first openly gay man to make a presidential debate stage, while his folksy yet progressive charm have earned him comparisons to former President Barack Obama. And yet he also has a less public history of working for Democratic presidential campaigns and in political strategy, giving him "more in common with Bill Clinton than Obama," Mark Leibovich reports for The New York Times Magazine.
The 37-year-old Buttigieg has brushed off questions regarding his age and distance from national politics, touting that he has more "executive experience" than all the senators and congressmembers in the Democratic field. Yet that inexperience is also some of the appeal of his campaign, and Buttigieg embraces it, broadly promising Leibovich that he'll fashion a "completely different" response to the outrage against President Trump that's encompassed this presidential cycle. But as Leibovich writes, Buttigieg is still "at heart, a fairly conventional political animal:"
Buttigieg is steeped in campaign life, having worked for John Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008, and he tends to talk, more than most candidates, like an operative. In 2017, he ran unsuccessfully to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee — a position that is essentially that of a glorified fund-raiser, talking head and political strategist rolled into one. His early ambitions, his methodical climb up the accomplishment ladder and his youthful attention to networking have more in common with Bill Clinton than Obama.