Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a fund-raising fish fry for U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Hawkeye Downs Expo Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — On Veterans Day, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is proposing a "veteran-centric" Department of Veterans Affairs that will honor the service of the men and women of the military who represent "the best of who we are and what we can be."

Buttigieg, who served as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said service members are united by a "shared commitment to support and defend the United States" and in doing so they set an example "for us and the world, about the potential of the American experiment."

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Retired two-star Navy. Adm. Joe Sestak is the highest ranking — and perhaps, least known — veteran who is trying to clinch the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Sestak has decades of military experience, but he is not getting nearly as much media attention as fellow veterans Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Another veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has dropped out of the race.

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is welcomed Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at South Bend International Airport after returning from a seven-month tour of duty with the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan.(Associated Press/South Bend Tribune, Greg Swiercz)

Editor's note: We've been pestering campaign officials since February for an interview with Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of the many Democrats running for president in 2020. Finally, after months of silence, the news gods finally delivered.

Below, Buttigieg answers questions from Pentagon correspondent Jeff Schogol on the war in Afghanistan, tensions with Iran, and bridging the civil-military divide.

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(AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Greg Swiercz)

Your humble Pentagon correspondent has never been one of the "cool kids" in the world of Washington media, and never has that been more evident than in my failed attempts to interview Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of the roughly 50,000 Democrats running for president.

To the media, Buttigieg is so hot right now that he could melt the stealth coating off an F-35 – which is actually not as hard as it sounds. He is fluent in more forms of communication than C-3PO – in April, he offered his condolences to the French people for the Notre Dame fire in perfect French. He's had no problem getting media coverage from all sorts of media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times, or even Fox News.

Your intrepid Pentagon correspondent was briefly on Mayor Pete's schedule, when his director of campaign operations Max Harris set up an interview for Feb. 26. But less than an hour later, Harris emailed back to say he might have to reschedule the interview due to scheduling conflicts.

Four months of silence followed. (To be fair, his campaign manager Lis Smith did confirm in March that Buttigieg had formed an exploratory committee to run for president.)

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Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. (Associated Press/Michael Conroy)

During a radio interview on Thursday, former CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz opened his mouth and quickly inserted his foot, claiming that he spent more time with the military than other 2020 presidential candidates.

It's a claim he walked back real friggin' fast.

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