Mike Gravel says he 'misspoke' with Buttigieg comment

Mike Gravel says he 'misspoke' with Buttigieg comment
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Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel said Friday that he "misspoke" when he said that 2020 presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' Buttigieg: Biden gave 'bad' debate answer on slavery's legacy O'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows MORE mostly campaigns on "the fact that he's gay."

Gravel, a former Alaska senator who launched a long-shot campaign last month, issued a statement on Twitter on Friday after he slammed the South Bend, Ind., mayor during an interview with Hill.TV the previous day.

“I want to apologize to gay voters for implying that they are lining up behind Buttigieg. The gay electorate make critical and informed decisions,” Gravel said in the statement.

“Mayor Buttigieg’s candidacy offers gay Americans a historic chance at White House representation. A chance for gay boys and men to see a bit of themselves in the trigger finger behind the rancid American war machine. Don’t fall for it,” he continued.

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Gravel, 88, who is campaigning on a platform of "no more wars," did not apologize directly to Buttigieg in the statement but instead doubled down on his attacks against the Afghanistan War veteran.

“A Buttigieg presidency unequivocally threatens the well-being of people the world over who are subjected to America’s imperialist whims,” the former senator wrote. “He supports drone strikes, concealing war crimes, and growing our military-industrial complex.”

Gravel pointed to the mayor’s previous work at global consulting firm McKinsey as the source of his criticism, citing "the firm’s predatory practices."

“Despite appearances, Buttigieg does not represent a break from the past,” he added.

The Hill has reached out to Buttigieg’s campaign for comment.

Gravel lashed out at Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden bemoans white supremacy in remarks at civil rights movement site Gun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate MORE during the interview Thursday.

The former senator singled out Buttigieg, saying "the most out of step one ... I don’t know if its accurate, but the mayor of Indiana who is running who really doesn’t say anything more than the fact that he’s gay and that energizes the gay community." 

Asked for his thoughts on Biden, who has led polls of the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field, Gravel noted the two shared a good working relationship in the U.S. Senate but added "you have to look at what this person represents ideologically." 

"Biden ideologically is off the rails. He’s conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom is off the rails in the United States," he added.