Buttigieg says staying in race is best for party, country

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegLGBT film festival to premiere documentary about Pete Buttigieg Pete and Chasten Buttigieg welcome twins Coalition urges Democrats to restore billion in transit funding MORE said Sunday that staying in the race is the best thing he can do for both his party and the country. 

“Every day, I'm getting up, looking at how we can do what's best for the party. It's why we got into this race in the first place,” Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

“The belief that a different kind of message and a different kind of messenger could rally people together, could forge new alliances, could help us reach out in the very places where we have the best messaging yet found ourselves defeated by President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE in 2016 and cannot let that happen again,” he added. “And every day we're in this campaign is a day that we've reached the conclusion that pushing forward is the best thing that we can do for the country and for the party.”

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His comments come one day after Saturday’s South Carolina primary, which former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE won decisively. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (I-Vt.) came in second in South Carolina but maintains his lead in overall pledged delegates after the first four voting states. Sanders and Biden were the only candidates to receive pledged delegates from South Carolina. 

NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddIf .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden GOP governor: Biden's vaccine mandate 'increases the division' Manchin says he can't support Biden's .5 trillion spending plan MORE asked Buttigieg if there’s a result on Super Tuesday that would “change your outlook on your campaign?”

“Every single day, yes, we do a lot of math on this campaign. And so we'll be assessing at every turn not only what the right answer is for the campaign but making sure that every step we take is in the best interest of the party and that goal of making sure we defeat Donald Trump because our country can't take four more years of this,” Buttigieg responded. 

Buttigieg did not name specific states where he will win pledged delegates on Tuesday when asked by Todd. 

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Buttigieg performed better in the earlier, whiter states of Iowa and New Hampshire, where he won and came in a close second, respectively. Exit polls in South Carolina show Buttigieg with 3 percent of the African American vote, Todd noted. 

“The nominee of Democratic Party has to be able to win, has to be able to have a strong coalition of African American voters, Latino voters. This has been a struggle for you both in Nevada and South Carolina,” Todd said. 

“Well, again, there is no question that the vice president had a commanding lead with black voters in South Carolina. And that bar of earning the trust of voters of color right now, that bar is high for a reason, especially when you’re talking about black voters in the South,” he said.  

“I’m humbled by the challenge and have continued to focus on making sure that I present not just our policy ideas but what this campaign is about in a way that can reach out to black voters and to voters across the board,” Buttigieg added.