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Democratic Mayor Pete Buttigieg launches 2020 White House campaign

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Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, launched an underdog 2020 bid for the White House on Wednesday, aiming to stand out as a problem-solving Midwestern outsider who would be the first openly gay nominee of a major U.S. political party.

The relatively unknown Buttigieg, 37, a two-term mayor of the Rust Belt city of about 100,000 people, has argued the party needs new leadership that can appeal to the working-class voters who deserted Democrats in favor of Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race.

In an email and video to supporters, he sought to embrace fresh solutions for the future, in contrast to Trump’s nostalgia-driven message invoking an America of the past.

“My generation is the generation that experienced school shootings beginning when I was in high school, the generation that fought in the post-9/11 wars, the first generation to have to deal with the reality of climate change, and the first generation not to be better off than our parents materially – if nothing changes,” Buttigieg said.

“Only a forward focus – untethered from the politics of the past and anchored by our shared values – can change our national politics and our nation’s future.”

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Buttigieg enters what is expected to be a crowded Democratic field of candidates vying for the right to challenge Trump, the likely Republican presidential nominee, in 2020. The mayor formed an exploratory committee to begin raising money and hiring staff to compete for the Democratic nomination.

He will face a tough task raising money and building a coalition of support in a race that will feature many candidates with greater name recognition and bigger donor networks.

Other Democratic rivals for the nomination include U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard and former San Antonio mayor and U.S. housing secretary Julian Castro.

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On Wednesday, Buttigieg acknowledged the odds but touted his unique candidacy, saying, “At a moment like this, underdog campaigns will go further than the establishment would normally allow, when it comes to bold ideas that can truly meet the threats and opportunities coming our way.”

Buttigieg began building a national profile in 2017 with an unsuccessful run for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Former President Barack Obama mentioned him in an interview shortly before leaving the White House as a young Democrat with a bright future.

The Harvard graduate and former Rhodes Scholar returned to his hometown of South Bend and was elected mayor in 2012 at the age of 29. He served a seven-month Naval Reserve tour in Afghanistan while mayor and came out as gay in a 2015 column for the local paper. He married in June 2018.

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As mayor of South Bend, a blue-collar town that is home to the University of Notre Dame, Buttigieg made redevelopment a top priority and was named mayor of the year in 2013 by the website GovFresh.com. He signaled his White House run in December when he announced he would not seek a third term as mayor.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Ginger Gibson; Editing by Catherine Evans, Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis and Steve Orlofsky


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Jon Stewart blasts ‘abomination’ of Rand Paul trying to ‘balance the budget on the backs of’ 9/11 responders

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On Wednesday's edition of Fox News' "Special Report," comedian and activist Jon Stewart slammed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for blocking unanimous consent for a bill to support health care for 9/11 first responders.

"Pardon me if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue signaling," said Stewart to anchor Bret Baier, who appeared on the show with first responder and activist John Feal.

He added that Paul's complaint, that the bill was unfunded, rings hollow given that he "added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit" with the GOP tax cuts for billionaires. He castigated Paul for trying to "balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community."

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Trump supporters chant ‘send her back’ as president hurls racially-charged accusations at Rep. Omar

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At a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) of anti-American sentiments and speech. He said that she belittled 9/11, along with a slew of other accusations that were racially charged.

One-by-one, his rally supporters booed each thing he claimed she did or said. Then the booing turned into a chant: "Send her back! Send her back!"

Omar is an immigrant from Somalia who emigrated along with her parents when she was just 12-years-old. Her family claimed asylum from their war-torn country.

Trump said on Twitter that he believed she, along with three other Congresswomen of color, should be sent back to the countries they're from. Trump's campaign and Republicans proceeded to spend the days that followed claiming that Trump simply wanted them to leave the U.S. if they didn't like it.

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Republicans will never say that racism is ‘racism’ — basically because they’re racist

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Is there any expression of racism that Republicans will actually admit is racism? It's a question on a lot of progressive minds in the wake of Donald Trump demonizing female congresswomen of color with the "go back" canard that white nationalists and other assorted racists have long used to abuse anyone with heritage they dislike, whether that heritage is Jewish, Irish, Italian, African, Latin American or Muslim. Telling someone to "go back" is, in the ranks of racist statements, right up there with calling a person the N-word or some other rank slur. Yet, there still appears to be resistance among Republicans to admitting that is racism, which leads many on the left to wonder: If this doesn't count, then what could possibly count?

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