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Buttigieg in NH: Trump Targets on Iran Won't Deter Regime

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. is currently in fourth place in the latest national Democratic Party primary opinion polls. (Kevin Bowe/Public News Service)
Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. is currently in fourth place in the latest national Democratic Party primary opinion polls. (Kevin Bowe/Public News Service)
January 6, 2020

WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- At a weekend campaign event in Wolfeboro, Democratic Party presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said President Donald Trump's mention of having Iranian targets already picked out probably won't prevent military conflict.

On Saturday, Trump noted on Twitter that the United States has targeted "52 Iranian sites" that could be hit if Iran strikes Americans or American assets in response to the killing of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, in a U.S. airstrike.

Buttigieg, who served as a military intelligence officer in Afghanistan, had some strong words about Trump's latest tweet.

"In a culture of martyrdom, it seems unlikely that that's much of a deterrent," he said. "We've got to be smart. We've got to understand what we're up against. And we've got to think through not just the immediate, but the second and third-order effects of anything that the United States does."

Buttigieg said Middle East tensions could easily reach a point that the U.S. can't control. He said he's concerned about what he terms a "low level of confidence in the strategic thinking of the current White House," and thinks Congress needs to be consulted before actions of war. He did not comment on whether he agrees with the decision to kill Soleimani.

Buttigieg also shared some insights from a year on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. He said the voters he's meeting in this early primary state take their responsibility seriously and inspire him not to pursue politics as usual.

"I'm getting deep, searching questions about America's role in the world, about how to unify a divided country, about how to make sure that we're able to open up a new era that's going to be better than the last one," he said. "Not just how to beat this president, but replace him with something that's going to lead this nation in the right direction.

"It's a very serious, very healthy conversation," he added. "I've been really honored to be part of it."

Buttigieg said he supports nonpartisan redistricting, as well as getting rid of the Electoral College.

While opinion polls show Buttigieg narrowly leading the Democratic primary race in New Hampshire, he has fallen behind in national polls. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - NH