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Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:28 PM
ANGOLA, Ind. – These past few weeks, we’ve seen yet another example of sclerosis in Washington, this time with the farm bill. On a topic that begged for compromise, everyone dug in, and there was celebration in some quarters even as they were spitting the ashes out of their mouths.
Next up comes the immigration package, with House Republicans overwhelmingly balking Wednesday at the Senate passed bill despite warnings from Speaker John Boehner about the political consequences.
Later this year, we’ll get another debt limit faux crisis.
It is a city of gangs who can’t shoot straight, of rhetoric akin to methane gas seeping out of a melting tundra. Gallup has congressional approval at 10 percent, yet another historic low.
LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo’s column on page 1 hits a number of points that are resonating. And it underscores a recent piece by conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks on what he calls the “power inversion,” the rise of city states and regional governments that fill the void left by the partisan polarization in Washington.
  • CHICAGO  – Psssst, Mr. President, you will not be running against Hillary Clinton in 2020. This past week, President Trump and Vice President Pence kicked off their reelection campaign in Orlando and while he repeated the premise for another four years - “Promises made, promises kept” - it was also an exercise in grievance, with nary an aspirational echo from those like President Kennedy or Reagan. “Our political opponents look down with hatred on our values and with utter disdain for the people whose lives they want to run,” Trump said. "They tried to take away your dignity and your destiny. But we will never let them do that, will we? They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign — probably the greatest election in the history of our country."  Trump brought up Hillary Clinton’s “33,000 emails” as the capacity crowd chimed “Lock her up!” Trump won his historic upset in 2016 in part because of his own shrewd strategies and fulsome use of social media. But there were many of his supporters, particularly in Indiana, who loathed Hillary Clinton and voted for the billionaire. But folks, Hillary ain’t runnin’. She’s back in Chappaqua. While the economy is humming, GDP is meeting his prediction of close to 3 percent growth, and jobless levels are at 50-year lows, Trump is not reaping the political windfall that most presidents do with such a positive economy.
  • RAPID CITY, S.D. - Just months after he was vanquished in the 1940 election by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie became his emissary, traveling the world on his behalf in a show of American unity during World War II. At Tehran, he gave the Shah of Iran his first airplane ride. At a fete on his behalf, Willkie complimented the Shah on a beautiful Persian rug. The Shah had his men roll up the rug, putting it on Willkie's plane as a gift, where it ended up at Indiana University's Lilly Library and, eventually, Bryan House. I tell this story because Willkie built on the world travels of U.S. Sen. Albert Beveridge a century ago to form what I call the "internationalist" wing of Indiana politics. These are the public servants who understood global complexities and worked them to the Hoosier advantage. Willkie would author the book "One World" which became a template of the emerging post-World War II new order. He would be followed by U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, U.S. Reps. Lee Hamilton, Tim Roemer and Frank McCloskey, and Gov. Robert Orr. Orr would open up Asian investment in Indiana and become ambassador to Singapore. Lugar forged monumental nuclear safeguards and pushed for global food security. McCloskey intervened in the Balkan genocide. Hamilton and Roemer served on the 9/11 Commission, with the latter becoming ambassador to India. There is now a new member of the internationalist wing: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who gave a compelling and analytical viewpoint into American foreign policy at Indiana University this past week. It was prefaced during an MSNBC Town Hall when he was pressed to name a "living" Republican he admired. Coming just after the death of Sen. Lugar, Buttigieg responded, "I had such a great answer if it wasn't living," Buttigieg said, then naming Willkie. "He was from Indiana. He put country before party."
  • IOWA CITY - If you had to conjure a living version of the word "improbable," look no further than South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. When he launched his presidential exploratory effort last January, even some Hoosier Democrats thought he was overly ambitious. Heading into the sixth month of this experiment, Mayor Pete now faces a crucial sequence that will go along way in determining whether he's an epic dreamer, on the brink of a presidential nomination, or a slot on the national ticket.  After a series of critically acclaimed town halls on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC and dozens of network talking head appearances, Buttigieg will find himself on the debate stage with the frontrunners, the old folks of the Democratic Party: Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Biden has dominated with a Real Clear Politics polling composite lead approaching 20% but has had a tormented week capped by a sudden shift on the Hyde Amendment after supporting it for decades. Sanders has faded, Warren is on the rise, and Buttigieg has leveled off in the polls after flirting with the so-called "top tier" nationally and Iowa and New Hampshire polls. He lags behind in South Carolina, where he has virtually no support from the crucial black voters.
  • INDIANAPOLIS - This is the era of FBI directors leaving us hot messes in their wake. Who could forget James Comey’s July 2016 press conference? That’s when he said he wouldn’t indict Hillary Clinton on the server/email issue, but in doing so leveled searing criticism of how she had conducted sensitive affairs.  Then came the late October surprise whopper, when Comey announced a rekindled investigation of Clinton after finding her emails on Anthony Weiner’s horndogging computer. That created the upset atmosphere than led to President Donald John Trump. What Comey didn’t mention was that the FBI was conducting a counter intelligence probe into the Trump campaign. That brings us to this past week, when former FBI director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller appeared from behind the curtains. His 9-minute statement created a new sensation when he refused to absolve President Trump of obstruction of justice. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime," Mueller stoically said. Due to DOJ rules (but not the Constitution), "Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. If we had confidence the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so." 
  • NASHVILLE, Ind. — Last week I regaled you with the legacies of the Senate lions, the late Birch Bayh and Richard Lugar. Their passing occurred just months after Indiana's newest senator, Republican Mike Braun, followed in their giant footsteps. In the television age of politics, only nine white guys have made it to the U.S. Senate from Indiana. Our new senators tend to arrive in crisis atmosphere, whether it was the assassination of President Kennedy 11 months after Sen. Birch Bayh was sworn in, the shooting of President Reagan three months after Dan Quayle took the oath, or President Clinton's impeachment that prompted Sen. Evan Bayh's first votes. Sen. Braun came to Washington with the federal government shut down, in a standoff over immigration between President Trump and congressional Democrats. It was a "crisis" that pales in comparison to the thunderclap immediacy of gunshots and impeachment, but it is a sclerosis that has created historic dysfunction at a time of global duress, whether it be climate change, rising super powers or a rapidly aging population. All of these issues will test the viability of our republic in the coming years. Braun won office by sporting a blue shirt sans tie, dispatched three sitting Members of Congress along the way with a cranky attitude that endeared him to many Hoosiers who are fed up with bovine scatology that has become federal governance. 
  • NASHVILLE, Ind. - Some things in our society are simply disappearing. Like the Studebaker Lark. Space Food Sticks. RadioShack. Blockbuster. And, of course, Hoosier Democrat county commissioners and gubernatorial contenders. That last point, however, is about to change. Gov. Eric Holcomb has just concluded his third General Assembly session and he proclaims the state is "on a roll." There’s that $34.6 billion perfectly balanced budget sans smoke and mirrors. He pumped $760 million of new funding into K-12 education, added close to $300 million into the Department of Child Services. He signed a hate crime law that will be tested in the courts, two new abortion restriction bills, and a deal to keep the Pacers in Indiana. He'll get to name his own education superintendent in 2020. It hasn’t been a completely smooth ride. Holcomb still finds a defiant Attorney General Curtis Hill ignoring his call to resign over sexual harassment allegations. The head of the state’s Veteran’s agency was forced to quit due to questionable expenditures and the governor took some heat for accepting a flight from a casino owner.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – One way to know you’re picking up political traction is when opposing partisans begin to take notice; when you are no longer ignored. That is the prelude to 2 p.m. Palm Sunday when one of the most unlikely presidential campaigns kicks off in South Bend. That’s when Mayor Pete Buttigieg officially joins some 20 Democrats seeking to take on President Trump and Vice President Pence. Buttigieg is now showing up, sometimes in double digits, in state and national polls. In several surveys he trails only septuagenarian front runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. He’s been a piping hot commodity on the cable and network talking head circuit. Last Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press and at the LGBT Victory Fund brunch less than an hour later, Buttigieg got the attention of Republicans. In discussing his sexuality, Buttigieg told the Victory Fund, “It’s hard to face the truth that there were times in my life when, if you had shown me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife. If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would’ve swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water."  In retrospect, he said, his marriage to his husband Chasten has moved him closer to God. And it brought him in proximity the political battle lines involving Vice President Mike Pence, a longtime foe of same sex marriage. “That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” Buttigieg said. “That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” That has now fully placed "Mayor Pete" on the Republican radar.
  • NASHVILLE, Ind. – Indiana now has a hate crimes law. How credible the law Gov. Eric Holcomb signed on Wednesday will be determined by the courts at some future date. In signing the law, Holcomb explained, “Our goal was to achieve a comprehensive law that protects those who are the targets of bias crimes, and we have accomplished just that. We have made progress and taken a strong stand against targeted violence. I am confident our judges will increase punishment for those who commit crimes motivated by bias under this law.”  But this came after weeks of muddled messaging. Holcomb signaled late last year that a law with a list of the potentially afflicted was one of his top priorities. He was moved by the defiling of a Carmel synagogue last summer. He vowed to be vocal. Many of us believed that this popular governor wouldn’t hestitate to use his ample political capital to achieve a high priority goal. From a practical and legal standpoint, should Johnny Himmler spray paint “Heil Hitler” on a synagogue or defile a home with a rainbow flag on the porch and a car with an equality sticker in the driveway, judges have the ability today to sentence while considering the aggravating circumstances at hand. Speaker Brian Bosma believed that to be the case before this session ever began, but Holcomb changed the equation.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – Super majorities have consequences. If there is any lesson to be drawn from the headline news item of the 2019 General Assembly session – the hate crimes legislation without a specific list of the potentially afflicted, which reached Senate concurrence Tuesday and is headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk – it’s that.  The pipsqueak Democratic minorities protest with the voices of mice and the super majority Republicans just grin and do what they want, often in caucus, away from public view. There is no presumptive Democratic gubernatorial standard-bearer in the wings who should be the focal and vocal point of resistance. And the true rising star of the Rooster Party, the openly gay South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, is too busy running for president. In February, when Mayor Pete conducted a book reading at IUPUI, there seemed to be a strange bedfellows alignment between Buttigieg and Gov. Holcomb on SB12, which had just cleared the Senate without a list. Holcomb declared it “unacceptable” and said there was plenty of time to forge a list. “I will continue to fight for the right ultimate outcome for our state and citizens this year so we’re not right back here in the same place next year,” Holcomb said.  HPI commented at the time: It is unclear how Holcomb will use his considerable popularity to bring his recalcitrant GOP into line. Now we know.
  • NASHVILLE, Ind. – President Trump hasn’t read the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Neither has Vice President Pence, U.S. Sen. Todd Young, nor anyone in the Indiana congressional delegation, or Congress for that matter. No one on “Fox & Friends,” “Morning Joe,” Wolf Blitzer, Sean Hannity, the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post or any member of the vast right/left wing conspiracies have read the report. We don’t know the thrust of what Mueller gleaned from what Wired has reported, which includes: A team of 19 lawyers; 40 FBI agents, analysts, forensic accountants, and other staff; more than 2,800 subpoenas; nearly 500 search warrants; 230 sets of communication records; details from nearly 50 pen registers used to track telephone calls; 13 requests of foreign governments and law enforcement agencies for additional evidence and interviews; along with around 500 witnesses. Beyond Mueller’s team and Attorney General Robert Barr, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and DOJ staffers, no one knows what’s in the report, beyond Barr’s four-page memo released on Sunday. On Friday, Barr said the report numbering more than "400 pages" will be made public soon. “Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own,” Barr wrote ton Congressional leaders on Friday.
  • GNAW BONE, Ind. – Eight years ago, Hoosier Republicans gathered for their annual spring dinner and heard an endearing speech from First Lady Cheri Daniels, who talked about her love for the Indiana State Fair ranging from hand milking cows to flipping pancakes. It was a prelude to a potential presidential run by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, whose political career was one of distinct decorum. He never ran a negative TV ad, nor did he vilify his opponents. Several weeks later, the Daniels family decided against a White House bid (who could blame them?), a decision that if you line up a chain of hypotheticals (the governor could have won the GOP nomination, could have defeated President Obama, could have tackled historic entitlement reform) might have clipped the atmosphere that produced President Donald Trump and the coarsened political environment we stew in today. Thus, we summon Monty Python’s Flying Circus and John Cleese’s famous catch-phrase: And now for something completely different. That would be Monday night's Republican Spring Dinner, 2019 version. It featured two of President Trump’s ultimate insiders: Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie.
  • NASHVILLE, Ind. – At 9 Sunday evening, Mayor Pete truly goes nationwide. That’s when Pete Buttigieg is featured on a televised CNN town hall, live from Austin, Tex. The South Bend mayor is attempting one of the most audacious political paths in history, which would be jumping from leading a city of 100,000 population, a $360 million budget and a thousand employees to the presidency with a $4 trillion budget and millions of workers.  Most politicians aiming for the White House have a statewide or urban political base. Buttigieg has skipped that step, though his unsuccessful 2010 run for Indiana treasurer is the source of an early chapter in his book “Shortest Way Home.” “The very first time I put my name on the ballot for office, fully one million people had voted for the other guy,” Buttigieg notes. “I had received a priceless if humbling course of education, a fitting conclusion to a decade of learning.” 

  • INDIANAPOLIS  — Perhaps we should make Feb. 27 a new U.S. holiday: Liars Day. It would be the perfect holiday here in the post-truth era. One could use it to golf or fish, do our taxes, or hit a strip club while the wife goes shopping, lying all the way. Convicted liar Michael Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee. He’s already lied under oath before Congress. He was President Trump’s long-time fixer/attorney and, according to the Washington Post, Trump had lied or told half truths 8,158 times as of Jan. 21. President Trump surrounded himself with an array of people who have lied. Michael Flynn was axed because he lied to Vice President Pence. And Pence, playing the dutiful veep, repeats the Trumpian lies, like that faux “national emergency” on the southern border that most of our U.S. House delegation has taken hook, line and political sinker. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings acknowledged Cohen’s problem with the truth. “I will be the first one to refer those untruthful statements to DOJ,” the chairman warned. “He has a lot to lose if he lies.” Cummings then swore Cohen in, asking if he would say “nothing but the truth, the whole truth?” Cohen answered in the affirmative. So help us, God. I mean, really, God, we could use some help down here in Washington.
  • INDIANAPOLIS - The last time I was with Dan Coats, we had breakfast at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He looked and sounded like a man ready to retire and enjoy his grandkids. He had been a public servant since 1980, his career coursing through the U.S. House, Senate and as ambassador to Germany, taking that post just hours before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Coats was a late supporter of Donald Trump. He and his wife, former Republican National Committeewoman Marsha Coats, had concerns about candidate Trump. Marsha wrote Trump a letter, hand-delivered by her husband, and at a subsequent appearance in Fort Wayne, Trump "sought her out,” the senator said. “He said, ‘Marsha, I will not let you down.” This Donald Trump listened and asked questions. But Coats understood the political attraction of Trump, in awe that he could draw 20,000 people to an arena. As for Trump's style, Coats told him, “If you change your speech, you might draw 250 people. I think you really need to be Donald Trump, but what I see now is a Donald Trump who listens and asks questions.”  Coats didn't retire at the end of 2016. By appeal from Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Coats became director of National Intelligence. He is guardian of the American empire, boss to spies and spooks, assessor of the plethora of threats we face and our ardent defender. He has had a tormented relationship with President Trump, most conspicuously coming to a head in Helsinki last July, when Trump met with Russian President Putin alone for two hours. A
  • NASHVILLE, Ind. - So South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg is running for president. For those of you out there who love the campaign trail, this is fantastic news. My mind takes me back to February 1996 ... and there stood U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Lugar was giving a talk to Drake University students on the topic, I recall, of Africa. Lugar did this with a sedate, academic flourish and after a few minutes, I wandered out. There was a commotion down the hallway. I came upon the Drake student newspaper office - the Times-Delphic - and I could hear shouting. I peered inside, and a couple of students cowered nearby. There was Lugar's campaign manager, Mark Lubbers, and communications guy, Terry Holt, both profanely bellowing into their cellphones. "I want you to $#%#@*& get those fliers out," Lubbers ranted. I couldn't tell what Holt was stirred up about and if I could, it couldn't be printed here. But it was an utter contrast between the statesmanly Hoosier senator, and the gritty campaign team trying to find a political foothold in the Hawkeye State. Buttigieg joins a small fraternity of Hoosiers who have looked into the mirror and envisioned a President of the United States. There were the Harrisons - William Henry and Benjamin - who actually won the White House in 1840 and 1888. Neither one of them had to mount the kind of campaigns we see today. Ben Harrison spent most of his time at his Delaware Street mansion in Indianapolis while marching bands and torchlight parades pranced before him nightly.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – For two years, Republicans controlled the White House and both chambers in Congress. They wouldn’t pass funding for a concrete or steel border wall. In September 2017, USA Today asked every Republican whether they would fund what was then a $1.6 billion appropriation for the wall. Fewer than 25 percent of House and Senate Republicans were willing to stand up for the legislation. It found only 69 of 292 Republicans on Capitol Hill said they would vote for the wall.  President Trump has now partially closed the federal government over the wall. The showdown began in mid-December, with Democrats poised to retake the House. On Dec. 11 in a contentious Oval Office meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.” He vowed to “own the mantle.” On the day the shutdown began, Vice President Mike Pence met with Schumer, floating a compromise of $2.5 billion in border security funding, including money for a border fence. Schumer had no relationship with Pence (who has no relationships with any Capitol Hill Democrat) and didn’t trust that Pence was speaking for the president. It was canny sense, as Trump quickly cut Pence off at the knees. In the following weeks, that number was ratcheted up to $5.7 billion.

  • INDIANAPOLIS - When Gov. Eric Holcomb addresses Hoosiers in his annual State of the State address next Tuesday, you will be looking at one of the strongest chief executives in Indiana history. Indiana has a constitutionally weak governor. This stems back to our territorial days when Gov. William Henry Harrison and others wielded such power that it stirred great resentment. When the state's 1851 constitution was drawn, the milquetoast governor was created, with no ability to form a cabinet (secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general and superintendent are elected) or propose budgets. Much of gubernatorial power seen in other states shifted to the judiciary and the General Assembly. The early governors could not seek reelection, though one, Gov. Henry Schricker, served two non-consecutive terms. Gradually, the Hoosier governor has been strengthened. During the Civil War, Gov. Oliver P. Morton took command of the state's militia and suspended a Copperhead General Assembly in 1862 after Democrats threatened to bolt the Union. Morton also took control of state finances during the war.
  • INDIANAPOLIS  – President Pete. I mean, President Peter Buttigieg. That’s a pipe dream, right? The gay mayor of South Bend who announced he wouldn’t seek a third term earlier this month and who will likely make a Democratic White House bid doesn’t have a chance. Right? Remember all those columns I wrote in 2015 and 2016 that ended with the phrase, “Anything can happen. Anything?” Well, 2020 could be a year that takes that new axiom and cubes it in historic fashion. We’ve never had a mayor make the straight jump to the White House, or even the national ticket. Mayors John Lindsey and Sam Yorty couldn’t make it happen. Presidents Calvin Coolidge, Grover Cleveland and Andrew Johnson were mayors in the earlier parts of their political careers, but got to the White House from higher stations.  Buttigieg announced in December he won’t seek a third term. There’s not a realistic path in Indiana for him. He’s not interested in Congress, and with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s current popularity and the Indiana Democratic Party’s shattered foundation, a 2020 challenge there doesn’t appear to be in the cards. Instead, the mayor is using a failed run for Democratic National Committee chair to become one of up to three dozen Democrats seeking to challenge President Trump (or, perhaps, “President Pence”). Buttigieg said Tuesday, “For most of the decade now, I have given everything that I can to helping this city get to a new future. And I love this job. And I’m mindful that it may well be the best job that I will ever have. But it’s also not the kind of job you do forever.” 

  • ZIONSVILLE - History fascinates me because it is often a juxtaposition of irony. Man claims to build an unsinkable ship and the Titanic cascades to the Atlantic floor on its maiden voyage. Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die on July 4, 1826 on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Declaration of Independence, with the former's last words: "Thomas Jefferson survives" (in fact, he had been dead for five hours). Americans witnessed a fascinating contrast this week with the death of President George H.W. Bush at age 94. His final rites came on Thursday in Texas. On Friday, we are likely to wake up to tectonic grind of scandal, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia collusion probe reaches what some are describing as the "endgame" that has the potential to render President Trump into the same historic designation of Bush41, that of a one-term president, though for very different reasons. Earlier this week, Mueller filed a sentencing statement on former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, recommending no prison time because his cooperation stands to impact three criminal cases in formulation. A second such filing is expected on Friday for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. In tandem, they are precursors as to what lurks in the future of this presidency. It would be impossible not to see these stories as a sign of our times.

  • LEBANON, Ind. – Indiana has become, from a functional standpoint, a one-party state. The most conspicuous stats with U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly’s defeat is Republicans control 9 of 11 congressional seats, have super majorities in the General Assembly and all of the Statehouse constitutional offices. But mine down further is to discover how abjectly out of power Democrats are beyond the big cities of Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Gary, Hammond, Kokomo, Bloomington and Lafayette. On the city front, Democrats control 54 out of 117 city halls. At the county level, the impotence is striking. Of 1,399 county posts (these are prior to the Nov. 6 election) - assessor, auditor, clerk, commissioners, councilmembers, recorder, and treasurer - Democrats control just 268 offices, or an anemic 20 percent. Republicans control 1,130. Out of 242 commissioner seats, Democrats have a mere 34. Of 523 council seats Democrats control just 139. They hold just 22 assessor seats, 18 auditors, 20 clerks, 18 recorders and 17 treasurers. The list doesn’t include sheriffs, prosecutors and coroners, but my bet is those offices would present a similar trend. If you see a Democrat official at a county courthouse, quickly grab your phone and take a photo. Like glaciers and American-made sedans, they are disappearing relics.

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  • Buttigieg email to campaign supporters: 'My heart is broken'
    "It’s been a week since a member of our South Bend family was shot and killed by a police officer. I’ve held meetings with community members, the police department, and faith leaders. And yesterday, I held a community-wide town hall to discuss race and policing in our city, to make sure all residents could be heard. It was a tough conversation. Hearts are broken. My heart is broken. It was a painful but needed conversation. And I feel overwhelmed and heartened by the number of people – supporters and critics – who have reached out and made it clear over the past week that they want to join hands and face these problems together. Safety and justice are inseparable. Making them a lived reality for all is one of the great challenges of our time. And the solutions will have to come from cities like South Bend, where people are ready to come together to struggle and repair. I’m running for president as a mayor of an American city because the toughest issues we face locally are also important national issues." - South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in a Monday morning email to supporters of his Democratic presidential campaign. Buttigieg is still planning to participate in the second Democratic presidential debate in Miami on Thursday night.
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  • Trump '100% for Pence on 2020 ticket

    President Trump made it clear that he will seek reelection in 2020 with Vice President Mike Pence on the ticket. NBC Meet The Press  host Chuck Todd asked Trump if he would run with Pence. "Well, look, look - 100 percent, yes. He's been, he’s been a terrific vice president. He's my friend." 

    Todd asked Trump why he didn't commit to supporting Pence for president in 2024. "Because it was a surprise question," the president said. "I mean, you know, I’m not even thinking of it. It's so far out. I mean, It's so far out. That would be the only reason. Now what happens in 2024? I don't know that Mike is going to run. I don't know who's running or anything else." - Brian A. Howey, in Indianapolis

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