MANCHESTER, New Hampshire—Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of a Midwestern city with just over 100,000 residents, wants voters gathered here in Manchester, a city with a population of approximately the same size, to know that he has something in common with them.
He also wants them to know that Joe Biden does not.
The former South Bend mayor started his speech at the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner, the state Democratic Party’s biggest annual fundraiser, on Saturday night with a thinly veiled shot at former Vice President Joe Biden, who all but conceded the prior night that he’s unlikely to win the primary on Feb. 11.
“I know some are asking, what business does the South Bend mayor have seeking the highest office in the land,” Buttigieg started, addressing Biden without mentioning him by name. “You don’t have an office in Washington, you don’t have decades of experience in the establishment, the city you are the mayor of isn’t even the biggest city in the country.”
“It is more like Manchester, New Hampshire,” he said, to applause.
Buttigieg’s comments come as Biden escalated attacks on the 38-year old former mayor just one day after they sparred during the eighth Democratic debate. The former VP’s campaign, in desperate need of a primary boost after coming in fourth place in the Iowa caucuses, released a new digital ad appearing to minimize his opponent’s experience as a local official in Indiana.
The spot, titled, “Pete's Record,” contrasts Biden and Buttigieg’s records—with a spotlight on Biden’s time negotiating significant pieces of legislation under former President Barack Obama compared to the relatively smaller accomplishments of a small city in Indiana.
Buttigieg, who has enjoyed a significant post-Iowa polling boost, successfully twisted the ad spot to his advantage, winning roaring applause.
“To which I say, that is very much the point, because Americans in small, rural towns and industrial communities and yes, in our biggest cities, are tired of being reduced to a punchline by Washington politicians, and ready for someone to take the voice to the American capital. And that is how we are going to defeat Donald Trump,” Buttigieg said.