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Hundreds Attend Buttigieg Rally At IU

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks at Indiana University Auditorium.

Buttigieg outlined his foreign policy priorities during a speech Tuesday at the IU Auditorium. (Alex Eady/WTIU News)

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg made his first campaign stop to Bloomington as a Democratic candidate for president.

Buttigieg laid out his foreign policy priorities during a speech Tuesday at Indiana University.

He spoke on the importance of building global relationships as avenues through which foreign policy is carried out. But he says the Trump administration lacks a clear foreign policy vision.

He says the tasks for the next president are clear, which include putting an end to endless war, reversing the rise of authoritarianism abroad, and refocusing on future security threats.

“We must do all this while involving citizens across America, in a meaningful conversation about how foreign policy and national security concern their communities and do more to include their voices and values in formulating our policies,” he says.

Buttigieg also spoke on the importance of U.S. democracy and how it sets the tone for relations with other nations. He says Russia stands as an example of a country that has attempted to set up capitalism without democracy. 

“And the forces unleashed there, nationalism, xenophobia, homophobia, and repression of the press, are both highly disturbing in that country and disturbingly ascendant in our own country,” he says.

He wants to repeal the 2001 authorization for use of force in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling it a "blank check".

Cheers rang out in response to Buttigieg’s remarks on climate change, which is says this
administration has neglected to treat as a national security issue.

“Climate disruption is here. It is no longer a distant or theoretical issue. It is a clear and present threat,” he says. 

Buttigieg says the prominence of Indiana University as a global institution makes Bloomington the perfect community in which to deliver his message.

“Foreign policy needs to come home and also it needs to include the voices of the heartland," he says. "So, to see a global institution of international relevance right here in the heart of Indiana, I couldn’t think of a better way to feature that.”

Hundreds gathered outside the IU auditorium three hours before Buttigieg arrived.

People line up outside the IU auditorium before Buttigieg's speech.
People line up outside the IU auditorium before Buttigieg's speech. (Adam Pinsker, WTIU/WFIU News)

“I’ve never been political in my life.  I’ve been kind of independent, but this is the first time I’ve seen a presidential candidate speak,” says Kathy Mulder of Greenwood.

Buttigieg is a former Navy Reserve officer who deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. He says "the time for a Congress asleep at the switch must come to an end" and the U.S. shouldn't send troops into conflict without a clear definition of their mission.

Guy Loftman of Bloomington says it's refreshing to hear a presidential candidate talk about foreign policy.

“I think foreign policy often gets a back seat, and I think having an Indiana candidate as a serious contender for president as a Democrat," Loftman says.

Buttigieg also says he'd recommit the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal.

 The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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