South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg praised former President Barack Obama after a reporter misquoted him as criticizing Obama’s presidency in a statement that went viral.
A Los Angeles Times article published Sunday quoted the Democratic 2020 hopeful as saying that “the failures of the Obama era help explain how we got Trump.”
Evan Halper, the journalist who wrote the story, issued a correction on Monday noting that Buttigieg had actually said “the failures of the old normal.”
In a tweet, Halper called the mistake “the result of transcribing a noisy recording at a loud rally.”
Responding to the fix, Buttigieg offered admiration for Obama’s tenure.
“I appreciate this reporter’s swift and honest correction of a misquote on my views of the Obama presidency,” he tweeted. “From health care to [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] repeal to the rescue of the auto industry, my appreciation of the great leadership of Barack Obama comes from a very personal place.”
Buttigieg’s senior communications adviser Lis Smith applauded the candidate in a subsequent tweet as “unfailingly gracious- even to those who misquote and attack him in bad faith.”
“This is what a President looks like,” she said.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who served in the Obama administration and is also seeking the Democratic nomination, at first used the quote to bash Buttigieg on social media. He has since announced that he deleted his tweet and regrets that the original quote “was spread widely.”
In an interview with NBC News while on the campaign trail Monday, Buttigieg emphasized his support for both the press and Obama.
“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,” he said.
“The achievements of the Obama administration affected me personally in many ways, including the ability to serve openly,” Buttigieg, the nation’s first openly gay presidential candidate, added, referring to his time in the military. “And I’m an admirer of President Obama. I also believe this election, more than ever, is about the future.”