The Buttigieg presidential buzz has penetrated the White House

While Pete Buttigieg says he’s not contemplating the race to be Joe Biden’s successor, inside the West Wing, others are imagining it for him

4 hours ago

While Pete Buttigieg says he’s not contemplating the race to be Joe Biden’s successor, inside the West Wing, others are imagining it for him

At 39, he is the most recognizable and powerful transportation secretary in modern memory. And he wants you to believe his eye isn’t on the future.

including one on Nov. 15. Former campaign aides Maxwell Nunes and Michael Halle have been helping keep it afloat, according to filings and disbursement reports. Neither of them responded to messages.As for the reports of an emerging rivalry with the vice president, Buttigieg said: “We work extremely well with the vice president's team, and I'm proud to be part of the Biden-Harris team and this administration.”

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The White House declined to comment.Buttigieg is getting a taste of what life would be like selling a presidential agenda.He was in Phoenix on Friday for a trio of events touting construction projects, including places that could benefit from the administration’s newly minted infrastructure funding law,

and addressing concerns about the supply chain. Arizona Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego all joined him for at least two of the meetings, and there was a lot of mutual praise.Sinema, who has occasionally given the White House and progressives fits, seemed delighted to appear with Buttigieg at a round table at Mesa Community College where he sat between the two senators. “Thanks for your leadership,” in getting the infrastructure bill signed, Buttigieg said.

It was his first day on the road as a prominent face of the president’s infrastructure package, a $550 billion legislative initiative he will help implement and sell to the public, with all the political implications that holds for the president.“What excites me most is that we're going to have a lot of groundbreakings and eventually a lot of ribbon cuttings,” he said of the year ahead.

While there is no election directly in sight, Buttigieg’s initial on-the-ground efforts to promote the infrastructure deal had some familiar elements of his past campaigns. There were lots of news interviews, meet-and-greets with local electeds, die-hard fans in “Pete” shirts carrying copies of his book, a protester with a homophobic sign (“Booty Gay Go Away”), and people having trouble pronouncing his name (“Butt-Edge-Edge” instead of “Boot-Edge-Edge,” as the emcee of one event kept pronouncing it).

There were also attempts at that folksy Midwestern humor that were part of his candidacy roughly two years ago. On the benefits of the infrastructure package, he told POLITICO “this is literally as concrete as it gets.” He noted how cold it was at the bill signing but said that the bipartisan package “warmed my heart.”

Read more: POLITICO »

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