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Pete Buttigieg on the Final 2020 Debate and Being Called ‘Slayer Pete’

Going into the ultimate presidential debate of the yr, expectations have been blended. The first debate was an interruption-filled mess, the second was canceled, and the third got here with a brand-new mute button. As it seems, really with the ability to hear the candidates made for its personal set of stunning moments.

“I think we’re all glad that it felt different than the first one,” former 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg advised me over the telephone the morning after the controversy. “Because things were a little more calm, you could really see the difference between the two of them. The exchange on immigration and children being separated from their parents was just one example where you could see real passion for other people and that trademark empathy that drives Joe Biden—and something very different from Donald Trump.”

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The (occasional) silence additionally gave Biden the room to show he has some jokes. When President Trump said, “Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump,” clarifying, “with the exception of Abraham Lincoln,” Biden responded together with his personal zing: “Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history.”

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But Trump didn’t get it, asking why Biden was all of a sudden referring to the 16th president. “I think he’s not always up on nuance,” Buttigieg stated. “Obviously you don’t become Donald Trump if you have any sense of irony.”

“But it’s a sad joke for someone like him to think he’s delivered more for Black Americans than the presidents who brought us civil rights legislation or championed Reconstruction,” he added. “He answered a question on race without talking about Black lives. That’s your answer right there.”

Buttigieg, then again, has not too long ago garnered consideration for bringing each nuance and irony to the cable information circuit in his position as a Biden surrogate. He’s gone viral a number of instances over the previous few weeks, as soon as responding to a query on Fox News about Senator Kamala Harris altering positions since changing into the vice presidential candidate, by saying, “If people want to play that game, we can look in to why an evangelical Christian like Mike Pence wants to be on a ticket with a president caught with a porn star.”

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The clips have earned him a brand new nickname—Slayer Pete—although Buttigieg doesn’t completely really feel the connection. “When I get up and look in the mirror and get ready to shave, I wouldn’t say ‘slayer’ is the first word to cross my mind,” he quipped. “But I’ll take it in the spirit that it’s offered.”

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So what does he consider his comebacks getting a lot consideration now—months after he dropped out of this very race? “I think it partly reflects that we’re all on the same team. Folks might have been very critical of me before because they had a candidate and I was competing against their candidate. What’s exciting is now we’re all on the same team, behind the same candidate, so obviously they get a lot more pleasure out of seeing me help make the case.”

He’s additionally been aiding the marketing campaign in different methods, even enjoying Pence in Harris’ debate prep, after which exhibiting off his impression of the vice chairman on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. (“I doubt you would be impressed with many of my other impressions,” he admitted.)

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But even with all of his work, he’s nonetheless hesitant to say how he would have fun if Election Day ends in a Trump loss. “I’m superstitious enough not to let myself think too much about it.” When it involves ready for outcomes on November third, he added, “I always found election days to be interminable, especially as a candidate. When you’ve done the work, you’ve made the arguments, you’ve knocked on the doors, you’ve done the phone calls, and there’s nothing to do but watch and wait. Part of what we need to be prepared for, as voters and citizens, is that it might take a while to get answers, and that’s not anything nefarious. It’s people doing their jobs, carefully counting a historic number of mail-in and absentee ballots… The best thing I think we can do is get comfortable, settle in, talk to people we love. I know, for me, the presence of Buddy and Truman, our dogs, will be very important. It’s always good to be around a creature that doesn’t know there’s an election on to keep your feet on the ground.”

There are nonetheless 11 days to go till then, and in mild of Thursday evening, I needed to ask: When he’s at residence watching, is there something he needs he may’ve stated to Trump throughout certainly one of these debates?

“I try to keep those thoughts under control,” Buttigieg stated. “The real question is: How do you respond when he says something that’s totally absurd?”

Granted, we might by no means see Trump and Buttigieg go head-to-head, so for now, his Fox appearances must do.

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