Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and 2020 presidential candidate, sought to clarify his views on the administration of former President Barack Obama Monday after facing criticism for a since-corrected report in which he appeared to refer to the "failures" of that administration.
On Twitter, Buttigieg said that his "appreciation of the great leadership of Barack Obama comes from a very personal place."
The original article, published by the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, included a Buttigieg quote that seemed to blame Obama for the election of President Donald Trump.
It was corrected on Monday with the accurate quote: "I think the failures of the old normal help explain how we got Trump."
I appreciate this reporter’s swift and honest correction of a misquote on my views of the Obama presidency. From health care to DADT repeal to the rescue of the auto industry, my appreciation of the great leadership of Barack Obama comes from a very personal place. https://t.co/eWvSDtcpTQ— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) November 11, 2019
On Twitter, the reporter who wrote the article said the mistake happened because the comment by Buttigieg happened with a noisy background, causing the reporter to mishear the recording while transcribing at a rally.
"I deeply regret the mistake When we make errors we own them. This one really hurts because it went viral," journalist Evan Halper said.
My story about @PeteButtigieg ends with him referring to the “failures of the Obama era.” That’s an inaccurate quote — the result of transcribing a noisy recording at a loud rally. His exact words were “failures of the old normal”— Evan Halper (@evanhalper) November 11, 2019
Buttigieg said he appreciates the reporter's "swift and honest correction."
In an interview with NBC News on Monday, Buttigieg expanded on his reaction to the correction and praised Obama further.
"The reality is, despite what this president says, journalists take their obligation very seriously to make sure everything they print is accurate, and you saw that in how quickly that correction took place," Buttigieg said.
"The achievements of the Obama administration affected me personally in many ways, including the ability to serve openly, and I'm an admirer of President Obama," he added. Buttigieg, a veteran, came out as gay in 2015. The military's official "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay people serving in the armed forces was ended by Obama.
The misquote was shared widely on social media and was picked up by multiple media outlets because of its newsworthiness; most 2020 Democratic candidates have taken to praising Obama.
Though some 2020 hopefuls appeared to criticize the former president during primary debates for his signature health care policy, the Affordable Care Act, and on immigration, they have been sure to express appreciation for Obama's legacy.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been a staunch defender of the Obama-Biden administration, even under criticism, though he has sought to avoid taking the blame for some of the more criticized actions at times.
“You can't have it both ways,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said to Biden at a debate in July. “You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can’t do it when it's convenient and dodge it when it's not."
Primary debate: '#ThanksObama': 2020 Democrats walk back Obama criticisms
Buttigieg's campaign has drawn some comparisons to Obama's on the trail by voters. He told the Des Moines Register that those comparisons are "flattering."
"I think there's some overlap, certainly, between the style that he brought, and what I'm trying to offer," said Buttigieg, who campaigned for Obama in Iowa in 2007.
The LA Times' misquote of Buttigieg resulted in criticisms from those who saw it as alienating to a Democratic base that still largely supports the Obama administration. (Obama is rated as the best president by Americans during their lifetimes, according to a 2018 report from Pew Research Center.)
Former Obama Cabinet secretary and 2020 candidate Julián Castro also initially called out Buttigieg on Twitter but deleted that tweet after the correction. "I regret that the original (quote) was spread widely," Castro said.
In a recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, Buttigieg held his own against front runners Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He also surged in a poll conducted among Iowa caucusgoers last month, putting him in reach of Biden and Warren. And a recent Quinnipiac poll put him only behind Warren in a virtual four-way tie in that state.
Contributing: Rebecca Morin, Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY and Barbara Rodriguez, Des Moines Register
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pete Buttigieg praises Barack Obama after misquote went viral