Buttigieg: 'I didn't set out to be the gay president'

Buttigieg: 'I didn't set out to be the gay president'
© Greg Nash

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDOJ sues to block JetBlue-American Airlines partnership On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Blumenthal calls on Buttigieg to investigate American Airlines-JetBlue partnership MORE said Sunday he didn't set out to be "the gay president" when he launched his 2020 campaign, but added that he recognizes the significance of being the first major openly gay  candidate for the White House. 

"I didn’t set out to be the gay president, but certainly seeing what this means is really meaningful and really powerful," Buttigieg said on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

His comments came after he emerged in dead heat with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE (I-Vt.) for first place in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, with both candidates declaring victory. 

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"The reality is, prejudice is still out there and you’ve got to deal with it. But I would not have been able to get reelected the way I did so in in Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence says he hopes conservative majority on Supreme Court will restrict abortion access Federal judge to hear case of Proud Boy alleged Jan. 6 rioter seeking release from jail The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit MORE's Indiana if people were not able to look past that," Buttigieg said. "And every time somebody seeks to break barriers, pundits try to make it about electability."

NBC's Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddThe press ever-so-politely turns on Biden, as troubles mount NBC's Chuck Todd: Biden currently battling 'pretty big credibility crisis' 'Highest priority' is to vaccinate the unvaccinated, Fauci says MORE asked Buttigieg if he's looked beyond the question of electability and reflected on the momentous nature of his campaign and its success. 

"There was a moment before we went out, when Chasten pulled me and just reminded me what this means for some kid peeking around the closet door wondering if this country has a place for him," Buttigieg said, referring to a conversation he had with his husband. 

Buttigieg would become the first openly gay presidential candidate from either major party if he were to win the nomination. 

The Democratic will face off in New Hampshire on Tuesday for the first-in-the-nation primary.