News and Commentary

Buttigieg Campaign Mocked For Allegedly Adding Applause Track To CNN Town Hall Clip
MERRIMACK, UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 6, 2020: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg arrives to an overflowing American Legion Post 98, and addresses his supporters in Merrimack.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Preston Ehrler / Echoes Wire/ Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read
Preston Ehrler / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg had a Jeb! moment.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign was roundly mocked on Friday for allegedly editing applause into a video clip from a CNN town hall.

“Statistically, we run the risk of being the first generation in American history to actually be worse off economically than our parents if nothing is done to change the trajectory of this economy,” Buttigieg said in the video. “To me, that is not just a concern for our generation, it’s a concern that calls on us to build an alliance among generations to try to make sure that the future really is better than the past,” Buttigieg, the 38-year-old candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination said in answer to an audience member’s question in New Hampshire.

The live event, broadcast on CNN Thursday night, showed that Buttigieg’s comments did not prompt the crowd at Saint Anselm College to applaud.

But in a clip posted on social media by the campaign – voila, applause.

The addition of applause was first flagged by the Center for Popular Democracy Action, a group that supports Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), The Hill reported.

Then there was another altered clip, CPD Action said.

“The group also compared a second clip that was shared by the Buttigieg campaign of an exchange between Buttigieg and CNN anchor Jake Tapper over the candidate’s name,” Fox News reported.

“Not Boot-a-judge,” Tapper asked for clarification.

“Either way, it gets you there,” Buttigieg responded, sparking some laughter and audible applause.

But the original clip of the exchange shows the laughter and no applause, with Buttigieg adding, “Back home, they just call me Mayor Pete.”

“Did you see our first exposé of @PeteButtigieg campaign altering a #PeteOnCNN video to fake more voter support? Well here is a second! This time, Pete Buttigieg really wants to fake being funnier!” CPD Action wrote on Twitter.

Wrote one user on Twitter: “So appropriate. As fake as his victory,” referring to Buttigieg’s narrow win over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

“This is such a fitting metaphor for the US media cycle over the past few days,” wrote another.

The Buttigieg clips reminded some of Jeb Bush during his failed campaign in 2016.

In 2016, the Florida Republican was campaigning in his effort to win the GOP presidential nomination.

“I will not trash talk. I will not be a divider in chief or an agitator in chief. I won’t be out there blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up. I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter but send a signal that we’re prepared to act in the national security interests of this country – to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world,” Bush said at one town hall.

When he was met with crickets, Bush said: “Please clap,” prompting laughter and a smattering of applause.

Buttigieg has had his own “please clap” moments. During a campaign stop in Iowa, he said: “By having better hands guided by better values on those pulleys and levers of American government. So, can I look to you to spread that sense of hope to those that you know.”

Complete silence. “Come on!” Buttigieg said, drawing laughs and mild applause.