Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg struggled with his Spanish at a recent campaign event. Near the end of his remarks at the League of United Latin American Citizens town hall in Las Vegas, he trailed off and forgot the Spanish words for "this evening." So instead he defeatedly finished in English.
With a much bigger audience on Wednesday night at the Las Vegas presidential debate, Buttigieg was better prepared and spoke a bit of Spanish fluently. He may have impressed his supporters, but Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who was standing directly to Buttigieg's left, had the following response.
I imagine Klobuchar made an awful lot of people happy with that comeback. Buttigieg had acted arrogant and sanctimonious for the majority of the evening, less like a candidate and more like a professor lecturing his students. In almost every answer, he chided his opponents for their behavior and said his message was the only one that could unite Americans. It was exhausting. And by the way, his speeches sounded pretty but, per the norm, we didn't hear one concrete policy out of the former mayor. All style, no substance.
Klobucar and Buttigieg sparred several times Wednesday evening, with one of the most heated exchanges coming after one of the NBC News moderators mentioned how Klobuchar had recently failed to name the president of Mexico. The senator managed to properly identify Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the debate (with some help from her notes), but Buttigieg still used her momentary lapse to suggest that she was ill-equipped to deal with foreign policy.
"Are you trying to say that I'm dumb?" she reacted. "Are you mocking me here, Pete?"
All the Buttigieg supporters I talked to at his New Hampshire primary night rally last week told me that he doesn't go low. He doesn't attack his opponents. He doesn't get personal. I wonder if they were watching last night's debate.