Buttigieg defends declaring victory in Iowa

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE defended his decision to basically declare victory in Iowa on Monday night despite the lack of firm results, telling MSNBC that his internal numbers justified the decision.

“We were looking at the internal numbers we had and beginning to realize something extraordinary happened last night,” Buttigieg said Tuesday morning on MSNBC in response to a question about what he based his victory speech on.

In a series of interviews on morning shows, Buttigieg doubled down on what he saw as a strong display for his campaign, while acknowledging that the official results have not yet been announced.

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Buttigieg also did not claim to have officially won the caucuses, but rather highlighted the success of his campaign that was seen as a long shot when he first announced as a relatively unknown politician on the national stage.

“We’re going to hear the official results, and again that can’t come soon enough, but what we saw and what our precinct information revealed … is we have the momentum and stepped on that plane victorious,” Buttigieg said Tuesday on CNN.

Buttigieg said that based on his campaign’s internal numbers he performed well across a variety of areas, including rural, suburban and urban parts of Iowa, as well as winning areas that voted for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE and areas that typically sway Democratic.

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“This is really the first proof point for how we’re building the campaign that’s ultimately going to go on and defeat Trump,” Buttigieg said on MSNBC. “I’m more convinced than ever that the way to do that is building a coalition through addition, inviting people in, not shutting people out, and I think that approach served us very well last night with these extraordinary outcomes.”

Buttigieg also said that the public process of a caucus gives a better idea of where Democrats stood on Monday night.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE’s campaign, however, is questioning the integrity of the process amid the issues and delay.

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Biden’s campaign general counsel wrote a letter calling for answers and a “full explanation.”

Biden is believed to have performed poorly in the caucuses. Other candidates have all suggested that Biden did poorly based on their own numbers.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE’s (I-Vt.) campaign also essentially declared victory, releasing results to its supporters that showed him ahead of the other candidates.

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