CNN's David Axelrod slammed Democrat presidential candidate and current South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Friday, noting that blacks have fared worse under his leadership in South Bend.
"Axe, Pete Buttigieg says he's not interested in winning without black support," CNN's John Berman said. "The fact of the matter is he can't win without black support."
"Absolutely cannot. Absolutely cannot. African-Americans are about a quarter of the Democratic primary electorate," Axelrod responded. "Once you clear those early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, they come into play. And in South Carolina, 60 percent of the voters will be African-American. So, as a practical matter, he has to solve this problem or he's going to go back to South Bend."
"And that is a problem," Axelrod continued. "South Bend itself is a bit of a problem for him because even though he has this very far-reaching Douglass Plan to try and fight systemic racism in this country, there are troubling issues back home about police staffing, which African-Americans dropped by half under his watch, and on city contracting, where African-American — where minority businesses have done rather poorly in sharing in the business of the city, even though 40 percent of the city is black and Hispanic. These are questions that I asked him."
"We had some interesting exchanges on it. And, you know, he has to solve it," Axelrod added. "And I think his campaign knows he has to solve it, which is one reasons why he was out there with an 18-page plan yesterday to try and deal with a whole range of issues affecting the community."
Axelrod concluded by noting that people are going to look at what Buttigieg has done with the community in South Bend and that there are going to be problems when they see how he has interacted with the black community.
"And, you know, he had a series of issues. He fired a popular black police chief. It was because of an investigation. But, nonetheless, it was a controversial decision," Axelrod continued. "He tore down 1,000 abandoned homes, many of them in poor minority communities, and that was meant to remove blight. But there was quite a bit of resistance because now there are these vacant lots in the community. So, you know, there are a lot of issues that he has to confront there."