Pete Buttigieg, who has been rising in the polls before the New Hampshire primary next week, had his first event since the Democratic debate in front of a large crowd at Keene State College Saturday morning.
“We’re so excited to be here in Keene to ask for your vote,” he said.
The event space was packed. Some voters had to sit in a separate viewing room inside of the venue. “We just had to meet with the fire marshal backstage,” Congresswoman Annie Kuster said.
Buttigieg also acknowledged the size of the crowd. “Our numbers have grown a little bit,” he said.
Buttigieg was introduced to the stage by actor and activist Michael J. Fox. Fox told the rally audience that if Buttigieg was president, Americans would not only get a “gay, millenial, war veteran,” but they would also get someone who would “combat climate change and the gun epidemic.”
When Buttigieg took the stage, he spoke with the audience about his admiration of Fox.
“When I think about courage and when I think about grace, I think about Michael J. Fox,” he said.
At last night’s debate, Buttigieg was asked a question regarding the incarceration of black citizens of South Bend, Indiana where he served as mayor until recently. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in particular, was not pleased with his response.
Although Buttigieg did not directly speak on this question during the rally he told the audience that “we honour Black History Month.”
“We can do a better job listening, we can always show up,” he also said in recognition of Black History Month.
On the topic of the debate, Buttigieg did give a brief acknowledgement to the fact that it took place less than 24 hours ago.
“It’s not about who got the best zinger in the debate, it’s not about who looks good on television,” he said.
He also spoke about the current president, Donald Trump, when he informed the audience that he believes that he is the best candidate to defeat Trump.
“The purpose of the presidency is not the glorification of the president,” he said.
Congresswoman Kuster encouraged the audience to vote for Buttigieg on Tuesday and for volunteers to sign up to volunteer to knock on doors and make phone calls.
The rally ended with “USA” being chanted throughout the crowd.
Buttigieg’s next event is being held at 3:30 p.m. at Lebanon High School in New Hampshire.