‘Pete for President’ comes to N.H.

Telegraph photo by ADAM URQUHART Mayor Pete Buttigieg waves to a full house at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester Friday night.

MANCHESTER – If South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg ultimately wins the 2020 presidential election, he would be both the youngest president in history – as well as the first openly gay one.

And in the state with the motto, “Live Free or Die,” Buttigieg emphasized that women will never be free if their rights to abortion are hindered by men.

“I think real freedom means freedom to live a life of your choosing,” Buttigieg said on Friday.

Buttigieg on made his third stop in New Hampshire since announcing his intentions to seek the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. He is currently serving in his eighth and final year as mayor of South Bend, as he was first elected at age 29 in 2011. In 2015, he was re-elected with 80 percent of the vote.

With his term wrapping up, he is now in search of higher office. He spoke to a full house in Manchester Friday night.

Telegraph photo by ADAM URQUHART Mayor Pete Buttigieg signs some books for eager fans who pressed to the front for a brief interaction at the end of his Friday presidential campaign rally at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester.

At 7:30 p.m., he stood before a crowd who welcomed him by cheering his name, “Pete, Pete” at the Currier Museum of Art for a meet and greet.

“The thing about something that’s grotesque is you can’t take your eyes off it. And what’s going on right now in Washington is grotesque,” Buttigieg said.

“And what I’m about is making sure that we hold our politics, and our policies and above all, all our politicians accountable to the standard of whether they make our everyday life better or not,” Buttigieg said. “That’s what this is about.”

He said he cannot help but notice that when one looks at what freedom, democracy and security require – it seems to be pointing in a progressive direction. He said his conservative friends talk about freedom, but their imaginations are constrained because they only think in terms of being free from something, whether that be freedom from government, taxes or regulations.

Buttigieg said government is not the only thing to make someone unfree. He said that is not how life works.

He provided examples of how one’s neighbor can make them unfree; a cable company can make one unfree and even one’s county clerk can make them feel unfree if they are telling them who they ought to marry.

He also said one is not free if he or she cannot start a new businesses because they fear leaving their job means losing their health care.

Buttigieg is a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and graduate of Harvard. He lives with his husband, Chasten, in the same South Bend neighborhood in which he matured.

Moreover, Buttigieg is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve. During his mayoral term, Buttigieg ended up taking a seven month, unpaid leave for a deployment to Afghanistan.

“If we want to call ourselves a democracy, we can’t go on allowing dollars to outvote people,” Buttigieg said.

The 37-year-old’s campaign reported raising $7 million in the first three months of this year. On Thursday, he took to Twitter to welcome people to join him in South Bend on April 14 for “a special announcement.” Whether he plans to officially confirm his campaign that day remains unclear, but he garnered quite a crowd Friday night in Manchester. Some were left still standing at the door, unable to get inside once the room had filled up with eager voters.

He said his message is, freedom, security and democracy.

“I believe that message is resonating from coast to coast because every time we arrange a little meet and greet, we wind up with a rally,” Buttigieg said.