- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 9, 2020

NASHUA, N.H. — Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Sunday painted his tenure solving smaller-town problems as a boon, not a hindrance, as he tries to beat back attacks from some of his 2020 Democratic presidential rivals over his lack of national political experience.

“Remember, mayors have to get things done. You’re never going to hear of a city government shutting down because two parties couldn’t agree,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “We just have to make sure the water keeps flowing through your [tanks] while we figure it out.”

He said such a “problem-solving” instinct is one reason why people should try to make Washington, D.C. look more like the country’s best-run cities and towns.

The remarks came after former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s campaign released a digital ad Saturday lampooning Mr. Buttigieg’s experience as a small-town mayor dealing with issues like decorative lighting.

“People are tired of being a punch line for Washington politicians,” the ex-mayor said Sunday.

Mr. Buttigieg spoke at a campaign rally at a middle school in Nashua, where there was a massive crowd snaking around the event location waiting to get in beforehand.

His campaign said more than 1,800 people attended the event.

After finishing in a virtual tie for first place in Iowa with Sen. Bernard Sanders, Mr. Buttigieg has been jockeying with the Vermont socialist for front-runner status in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

Dan Ayotte, 52, from Milford, said he was leaning toward Mr. Buttigieg or Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

“You need somebody that’s going to be able to go the distance and not get tired, not get tripped up,” said Mr. Ayotte, a cousin of former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican. “I know I couldn’t keep up with younger people any more … it’s tough.”

He was skeptical that other candidates would be able to go toe-to-toe on a stage against President Trump.

“Out of all these candidates, who’s going to get eaten alive by him? Because he’s unethical and doesn’t have any parameter,” he said. “I see him destroying Biden and Bernie. Somebody like Amy and Elizabeth [Warren] — I think they would do well against him in the debate, but I also think that he would do very well.”

Lisa Sanborn, a quilter from Merrimack, gave Mr. Buttigieg high marks for his debate performance Friday night.

“He held his composure, he answered questions with information and he didn’t just fly off the handle,” she said. “I just think he’s practical.”

She said she’s “99.9%” sure she’ll vote for Mr. Buttigieg on Tuesday but that she has a “teeny” interest in Ms. Klobuchar.

Still, Mr. Buttigieg is dealing with skepticism from some on the far left.

During his speech at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner on Saturday, Mr. Buttigieg was greeted with jeers and chants of “Wall Street Pete!” from Mr. Sanders’ section of supporters.

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