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Buttigieg Appeals to Vietnam Veterans in NH

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is rising in Democratic primary states Iowa and New Hampshire, ranking second and third, respectively, in the most recent polls. (Pete for America website)
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is rising in Democratic primary states Iowa and New Hampshire, ranking second and third, respectively, in the most recent polls. (Pete for America website)
November 12, 2019

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released his veterans plan on Monday in New Hampshire, and appealed directly to Vietnam veterans.

An Iraq war veteran himself, Buttigieg went off script during his address at the Rochester Opera House to speak to those who served in Vietnam.

"This isn't in my speech, but I want to say to anybody here who served in the Vietnam generation – and if you were among those who were not received in the right way when you came home – I believe it is better late than never to say thank you, and welcome home,” Buttigieg said.

According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Buttigieg is running third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, with former Vice President Joe Biden in the lead, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren polling secund. Buttigieg has pulled ahead of other primary contenders by courting centrist voters, hoping to chip away at Biden's lead among moderates.

On Monday, Buttigieg also said he would nominate a woman to head the Veterans Administration for the first time, and his veterans plan aims to fully fund the VA.

While Buttigieg is the youngest candidate in the race, he tried connecting with Vietnam veterans on Monday by reflecting on his experience coming home from Iraq.

"Having come home to balloons and smiles at a time when America had benefited from learning how to separate what we feel about those who serve from what we feel about the policies of this country,” he said, “not everybody who served had that same benefit."

Buttigieg has a similar demographic base of support as Warren, polling well among highly educated white Democrats. But critics note Buttigieg's low level of support among African-Americans and other minorities, as well as his lack of experience. If elected, the Indiana mayor would be the first candidate to go straight from city hall to the White House.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - NH