Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg — surging ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary — told Granite State voters he’s the candidate who can bring people together and defeat President Trump, at the same time taking swipes at contenders Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden during a rally in front of an exuberant crowd in Nashua.
“This is our moment. This is our chance. This is our only chance — not just to bring an end to the Trump presidency, but to launch the era that must come next,” Buttigieg said in a packed Nashua gym Sunday.
A day after Buttigieg was booed by Sanders’ supporters at a political dinner in Manchester, he returned the favor, taking shots at the Vermont senator.
“We can’t risk dividing Americans further,” Buttigieg said. “The idea that you either got to be for a revolution or you got to be for the status quo leaves most of us out. We need a politics that brings all of us in.”
Buttigieg also jabbed at Sanders on health care.
“You’ll see that we figured out a way to deliver health care to every American without a 20, 30, $40 trillion price tag, or according to one of my competitors an ‘I don’t know price tag,’ ” he said referencing the undetermined cost of the Vermont senator’s health care plan.
Biden, for his part, released an ad this weekend attacking Buttigieg’s record and experience as the mayor of a city of 100,000 people. Buttigieg shot back at the rally, touting his mayoral experience and saying he has “that problem-solving instinct.”
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is running neck-and-neck with Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont. In a poll of likely New Hampshire voters, Sanders has 23% compared to Buttigieg with 20%, according to a new Boston Herald-NBC10 Boston-Franklin Pierce University poll released Sunday.
Buttigieg has dramatically moved up in polls since he exceeded expectations last week in Iowa.
The roaring crowd greeted him with chants of “President Pete” and “Boot Edge Edge,” and he responded by saying he can rally both Democrats and the Independents necessary to win the White House.
Nashua resident David Sterrett, 58, said Buttigieg is the candidate who can attract independents.
“Candidates are not doing enough to persuade swing voters to vote against Trump,” Sterrett said. “If the nominee doesn’t do that, there’s a good possibility we get another four years of Trump.”
No matter who wins, Buttigieg said he will “absolutely” support the Democratic nominee.
“We know what we’re going to be up against in November, and it cannot be each other,” he said. “We got to unify and get to work right away.”