Vote 2020: The millennial candidate

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg talks with ABC News Live about his 2020 presidential prospects
11:53 | 01/31/19

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Transcript for Vote 2020: The millennial candidate
Everyone I'm Devin Dwyer your watching ABC news live great to have you with us into another one of the youngest Democrat Strom jumping into the 20/20 presidential race may repeat. Of South Bend, Indiana it's great to have you mr. mayor is so. Gotta start yet to set us all straight I'm your Maltese last name how to pronounce it may be one of the most miss per announced in politics get us a lesson. That's announced booted jets believe it or not it's a very common name in Malta where my dad immigrated from but around South Bend and mostly just calling mayor Pete. Is it true I saw some more aligned to that translates to lord of the poultry I think that's right yeah. All right what's great to have you with us and as you said is the name of your father and our condolences to you in your family. For losing him just this past weekend was an immigrant of course raised your family and self and tell us about your experience in that city where you were born and raised now your mayor there are very small town just about a 100000 residents. You not only be the youngest president ever elected you'd also be the first mayor since 1812 how is that experience prepared you to be president. Well I think it's exactly the kind of experience we need more of for -- executive experience I think it shows right now that we have a president with. No government experience coming into it a vice president would actually less fewer years of executive experience than that I have. And when you run a city of any size I think you understand the responsibilities. Of executive leadership something is a city like. Many in the industrial midwest and faced brutal economic challenges at the beginning this decade Newsweek wrote that we are dying city. Now we're growing again we're seeing our downtown comeback play for created jobs and new industries and really transformed our economy I think it's a message. That's very different from the story we are being told. By this White House when it comes to industrial parts of the country which is that we're supposed to look backward there is no going back there is no. Again in an honest politics we can't keep looking for greatness and all all the wrong places I think my experience as mayor shows that. Yeah I actually it's a great message that you layout in your new book we should add the shortest way home. Comes out this month it's a fantastic read about your story. And your messages appealing to in large part to a younger audience that forward looking generation as year as you describe there in fact our friends at 538. Have taken a look at the numbers and while you have sort of barely registered in some these very early. We should say polls Democrats running for president they say you'd have a particularly sharp pathway. Among millennial voters if you can capitalize of that on that in fact they say if Buddha judge can become the preferred choice of young voters there's no guarantee that but it would give him a powerful. Told hole holed in the race. So talk a little bit about how you connect Gil to millennial Los in ways that some of your all attorneys older Democrats may be cannot. Well look I will be the current teenager the current president and 2054. God willing will be here in 2054 and you think about that. When you're picturing that future not as a theoretical thing but as a part of your life to your preparing for the just come of the world. Differently you have a different sense of urgency you know. Coming from the generation that grew up with school shootings happened all over the country coming from the generation that a provided most of the people who served as I did. In the wars after 9/11 in the generation that's dealing with climate change were already facing and those impacts are going to accelerate. So I think you just have a different attitude when you understand that these issues about the future are not somebody else's problem they are personal. Since it does a Bernie Sanders Candace did see her -- if he gets in the races that make it harder for you to win the nomination either far too many people looking at this for any of us to pay much attention or spend much energy looking at the others I think. Everyone comes to this with a different perspective different experience is something different offer but what I know is that I'm not like any of the others and that might be a good thing. It certainly is it makes it more interest seems as a story or that were covered of course. Let's talk about some of the big idea is that your endorsing him promoting in your booking you've been talking about some of them. Wanna get your take can come to a rapid around here on sort taxes. Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Alexandria costs he'll Cortez. Getting a lot of headlines lately about suggest proposing a sixty to 70%. Tax. On the wealthiest Americans is that something you could support. Potentially look they're a bunch of different ways to set the levels in the numbers in Quetta right the fundamentals and we've got recognizes. The wealthiest are not paying their share. You can address that through income tax you can address that through wealth tax but the bottom line is not so much about the instrument of policy of the mechanism it's about this basic fact. The most of us I think intuitively. Understand. Which is that the wealthiest aren't paying their share and it shows in and again this leads to issues of generational justice because. You can't get something for nothing and when we cut all these taxes on the wealthiest. Police are taking money out of our infrastructure out of our roads out of our schools and our generation is going to pay the price for that is something doesn't change. I'm a health insurance camel Harris this week said she would support totally eliminating private health insurance in their country. Do you agree with that ideas. Look even in countries with socialized medicine there can still view of the rule rule for the private sector just think about Medicare if we want Medicare for all a lot of people on Medicare also have Medicare supplemental insurance. That's fine but the bottom line is. We need universal health care in this country. And so I think when we're talking about Medicare for all we're moving in the right direction they're also very interest and policies that don't get enough attention. Like a model that they have in Maryland to keep prices under control through. What's called all Payer rate setting. Or legislating people buy into Medicare if they want to but it the end of the day we've got to get to the place where every American knows they can get health care. Current lets up about climate change the green new deal. Seems to be the buzz word of the early months here of the primary campaign what what is a green new deal look like two years. Well I think I like it I think they're green new deal right now is more or is it well it's more of a gold and it is a policy right. There are a lot of different ways to you could organize around this but the fundamental idea that we need energy independence. We need to do something about carbon and in the process of doing that we do it right. We can create a lot of jobs by re imagining how we get our energy in this country I mean if if our country was able to. Send people into space we can absolutely. Make sure that renewable power is available to more homes and into American industry. And the reality is we have to look as a mayor I have had to deal with climate change and all kinds of different forms from. Extreme flooding and rainfall this is in our community to the heat and cold this is not just a story playing out on the North Pole this is something that is now hitting American. Midwestern cities and my generation we will be on the business end of climate change so oh we better start doing something different what we've done before has just not been good enough. Let's talk about immigration quickly it's something that you've had some experience with this mayor in fact you two were right about in the book and 4017. How fear spread through you could your community when. Word started to go around that ice was performing raids nearby turns out I don't think that that actually happened but that's just that fear alone which was instructed to you. Do you think ice should be eliminated is this part of or retooled. As part of a platform that you purport. The real issues the policies that ice is being sent to carry out you could have any. Design you want for an agency that does border security enforcement the bottom bottom line is what is the policy. I don't care whether it's nicer or reviewed some other name or some other structure separating families is wrong. And any law enforcement agency ordered to do that is carrying out a policy that is wrong that starts at the top it's coming from the White House and it's got to change. Arts and letters topics now rams are patriots who. I don't have a big dog in that fight you know I'm from Indiana colts are out of the picture and around Notre Dame that we don't pay as much attention to pro ball and Clinton who but I will note that other brands coached by somebody who's even younger than I am an it's pretty excited. Sir written for the angered out take that have a best picture for the Oscars you had a chance to see any movies this season who would not nearly enough. All right hope you get some time before they're campaign really gets heated up and of course. Attorney to a more serious topic. Now one of them critical questions that Hillary Clinton faced. In between sixteen campaign is what we should call her husband if she won would he be the first to dude. Would he be the first mate to bill apparently preferred first man have you in Chastain talked about how you might. Call him if you take the White House. He's already got this role in our communities. First gentleman South Bend and then people have embraced him as somebody who's in that were also. My guess we'll go with that but dispose of him. And like the -- first gentleman of course you write a lot about that your husband in the book. And knows the warm reception that you have received and that community there. Obvious you know overwhelming majorities of Americans now support same sex marriage but but by wide margins but there is a sliver you acknowledge that. I still have some skepticism there how do you address that a going into the democratic primary do you think that something you're gonna need to take head on. I think it may be and you know it's it's something we can and should talk about look equality is still a struggle for the LG BTQ community in Indiana. Not in South Bend but in many parts of Indiana it's still legal to fire somebody just because they're dead. That's wrong and it's got to change marriage equality is a lawful and thank god benefited from it personally and that none of my marriage is the most important thing in my life but it's also. And he made America a better place now we need to make sure that that struggle for equality re really give. Story needs to because we're not there yet. You know and are one of the things that really it is struck me about your book was here. Here overarching message message about the greatness of America the importance. Of being a great community a great city having great fan ways. And yet he. In this idea that greatness is derived from going back to something you talk a little bit about Donald Trump slogan make America great again. I you take that apart you say I've learned a great families great cities even great nations are built through attention to the every day. How would you do that from the White House what what does that mean for you what has President Bush to change due to pay attention to be every day. Well I think the bottom line is whenever. Policy is being debated whenever you're deciding what to do you think about it first and foremost. In terms of what it would mean for people's everyday lives I think we've gotten away from that. And I think one of the reasons some of our policy debates on everything from. Health care to taxes to immigration has gotten so distorted. Is that it's been put through this kind of twisted. Washington prism that looks at power dynamics and who's up who's down and how this looks at how plays with the basin. I'm more concerned with does this make somebody's life. On my block in South Bend, Indiana better. Or does it make it worse that's where American greatness listed doesn't live in the past it doesn't live on television it doesn't live in space. It lives in. Did this basic question of whether America can be that the continue to be kind of place where people all around the world and the not just RR RR military not just our our culture but more than anything. Our everyday life that's what makes. There are great currently mayor Peter Judge of South Bend, Indiana two time democratic mayor also served in Afghanistan as a navy intelligence officer and one of the youngest candidates. So far and that's points when he race for president thanks so much for coming in. Mayor. That's available this month everybody should check it out mayor Pete thanks so much thanks or Emmitt. All right I'm Devin Dwyer Washington you're watching ABC news lives.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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