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 ButtigiegSunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate Sunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Chasten Buttigieg: DC 'almost unaffordable' 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 SandersSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Bipartisan infrastructure win shows Democrats must continue working across the aisle 'The land is us' — Tribal activist turns from Keystone XL to Line 3 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 PenceOfficers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Want to improve vaccine rates? Ask for this endorsement 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 ToddChuck Todd is dead wrong: Liberal bias defines modern journalism The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 NFL Network's Rich Eisen says he has COVID-19 despite being vaccinated 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.