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Tiger Woods Wins 5th Masters First Since 2005; Pete Buttigieg Officially Announcing Presidential Campaign. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 14, 2019 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:13] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone and welcome to Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield. We're following breaking news. After a nearly 11-year drought, Tiger Woods is once again a major champion.

A short time ago, the 43-year-old won the Masters, the fifth of his legendary career. It's also the 15th major victory of his career, only second to the great Jack Nicklaus. You're locking at those final moments right there of his victory, a sweet victory for Tiger Woods there.

CNN's Don Riddell is in Augusta. So, Don, what an incredible culmination of a decades long, you know, drought, and now the ultimate comeback. Take us through it.

DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. It has just been absolutely extraordinary. The narrative that a lot of people were hoping for this week was that Tiger Woods would win again, but it still seems so far-fetched, especially since the feud was so stacked here and the quality of the golf on the leaderboard was incredibly high over these last four days, but Tiger Woods has done it again, and he deserves it, too. And this has just been the most extraordinary journey.

You know, we've been speculating before his comeback what would it mean for golf if he could do it again, what would it mean for sports if he could do it again. We speculated it would be one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time, but now that it's happened, now that we've actually seen it with our own eyes, it would be hard to find anything that rivals this.

And these images you're seeing now of him celebrating on the 18th Green, they're absolutely wonderful, wonderful, wonderful moments. When he won his first Masters title here, his first of five green jackets back in 1997, his father was with him to see it, now his kids are here to see it, young Sam and young Charlie who hugged him when he came off the 18th Green.

And they are one of the reasons that he wanted to comeback, to see if he could do it again, to see if he could contend again and win tournaments and win majors again and now he has done it with them watching on from the sidelines. It's kind of hard not to get emotional as a sports fan just kind of seeing that and just thinking about what that must mean for him and for them, an incredible journey.

WHITFIELD: That is the moment that just gets you.

RIDDELL: It is honestly kind of hard to find the words to describe it. But -- I mean, he is -- he got to the very bottom and he's climbed all the way back from the bottom to get here.

WHITFIELD: He dug deep. He dug really deep. And you know what I mean, just that moment with his kid, I mean, that gets you. That makes you, you know, all teary-eyed. And what a moment that was, too, not just his family being there, but to see these galleries that would follow him, which was tremendous and then really I thought that was incredibly poignant to see all those green jacket wearers, you know, who were standing there, who were there to celebrate him and welcome back, you know, into that winning arena.

RIDDELL: Yes. I mean, you would expect to see all the members here around the 18th Green. But I think it's fair to say some winners are more popular than others and, of course, Tiger Woods, you know -- I mean, he's the most famous golfer on the planet.

It would be easy to forget, perhaps, just how he used to dominate this sport once, how he transcended this sport, how everybody else used to turn up basically thinking the best they could hope for was second place.

But since 2008, he has been through so much. Of course, the marital issues that have been well documented, the fall from grace, the DUI, that kind of awful mug shot, and then the physical issues he's had to deal with, you know, the back, four back operations, risky spinal fusion surgery.

16 months ago he was ranked almost 1,200th in the world. The body was shot, the confidence was completely gone, and even his most ardent of supporters were finding it harder and harder to make a case that he could come back and do it. When he spoke to the media at the Presidents Cup in New York at the end of 2017, he said just riding in a golf cart for him was painful.

He said he really didn't even know if he could get out on a golf course and play without pain. The idea of playing without pain and contending and competing for tournaments and majors seemed incredibly far-fetched. But then, he did it, right? I mean in 2018, last year at the Open Championship in Britain, he was contending again. He was playing very well.

The PGA Championship, he almost won it, he came second. And then he won the Tour Championship in Atlanta, which is the climax of the PGA Tour season just down the road here from Augusta in Georgia and that gave him so much confidence. That was the moment where I think he realized, wow, you know, I could actually do this again.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

RIDDELL: I could actually give it a shot. But even getting from that place to here to seeing him actually do it is -- it still seems kind of far-fetched when you think of all those young players who are used to winning now. They are not scared of him.

[15:05:09] They're not, you know, they're not daunted by the aura of Tiger Woods, but they've got to see it with their own eyes here today.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

RIDDELL: And they've heard the tiger roars in the gallery and there is nothing like it in golf. Everybody was rooting for Tiger Woods here today.

WHITFIELD: Oh, yes.

RIDDELL: With all due respect to the 86 other players in the field, everybody wanted that to be the story. They wanted to say that they were there to witness an historic moment in golf and sports. And I'll tell you what, listen to this. You know, you could see this as the culmination of the comeback or you could see this just as the first step of the comeback.

WHITFIELD: Oh, interesting.

RIDDELL: For so long he's been on 14 -- so, for so long he's been on 14 major wins chasing the great Jack Nicklaus who got 18. And at one point it was just assumed that Tiger would get there, but then 2008 happened and everything kind of fell apart. Now that he's back to 15th and playing well and healthy and looking after himself, I mean, could he do it?

WHITFIELD: It's possible.

RIDDELL: I mean, the chase is back on, especially --

WHITFIELD: Three behind Jack Nicklaus.

RIDDELL: Right, especially when you consider that the other two majors that are in the United States this year are at best page (ph) and Pebble Beach, the two courses where he's already won majors, so it's like Augusta. He's played here so many times. He knows how to do it here. He's won on these courses. He's won majors on these courses. He knows how to get it done.

WHITFIELD: He has one, but they also change the course, right? I mean, Don, it reminded me, they change the course. They made a lot of modifications, you know, in the midst of many of his wins, I mean, making it more challenging for him.

And, you know, congratulations are coming from all parts and even the President of the United States has sent in a congratulations via Twitter. "Congratulations to Tiger Woods, a truly great champion."

And, you know, winning the Masters, while that is a real pinnacle for golf, personally for a Tiger Woods, considering all that he had been through, you know, his marriage falling apart publicly, the affairs, having to be humiliated and come out and apologize, his image being tarnished, do you see this as potential -- potentially the ultimate redemption for him, or did that already happen? RIDDELL: Well, it was happening. I think for sure now it has happened. I mean, you know, at the end of last year we were doing our kind of year-end review stories for CNN and Tiger's win at East Lake for the Tour Championship was a great moment, right?

And I went back to the archives and I found some of the footage from around the time where the infidelities were breaking news and the marriage was falling apart. And the fact that he had to come out and apologize to his family, his friends, the world, I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: I'll never forget that moment.

RIDDELL: It is breaking news.

WHITFIELD: Yes, I remember.

RIDDELL: It is breaking news all over the world.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

RIDDELL: But seeing it again, I kind of thought, I can't imagine anybody having to do that now. I mean, it was extraordinary that he had to go through that. And one of the public apologies he had to make --

WHITFIELD: And his mom was like sitting in the front row.

RIDDELL: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Yes, that was a moment.

RIDDELL: One of the apologies that he had to make was here at Augusta. The members here, the GreenJackets, they were so disgusted with his behavior that, I mean, you know, he was brought out in front of media. He had to do a perp walk here. He had to stand up at Augusta and say sorry again.

And so when you imagine that, when you remember and you put that into the context of what he's done here, I mean, that -- the comeback is complete. I mean, that is absolutely redemption.

Now, some people will look at the way he behaved and say you could never truly move on from that, you could never really expect anybody to forget that. But I think he's done everything that he possibly could to put that behind him to move on and to show that he's a better person, that he's older and wiser and more caring and, you know, the physical ailments as well.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

RIDDELL: I mean, every aspect of his life has represented a comeback.

WHITFIELD: And what do you suppose the path is like for him, whether he is, you know, to pursue, you know, matching, at least passing, you know, Jack Nicklaus' record. And at the same time, I mean, the message that he sends to a lot of these young players who have become, you know, his fiercest rivals, I mean, there are a lot right now.

RIDDELL: Right.

WHITFIELD: Incredibly, you know, prolific golfers right now who are very young, who have been his fiercest competition. But, now, I mean, he's kind of setting the stage again.

RIDDELL: Right. Well, look, we shouldn't get too carried away. It is incredibly difficult winning a golf tournament. He had to beat 86 other people this week. We have a three majors this year, the field is closer to about 150 people, so it's difficult winning a golf tournament any week. We shouldn't get too carried away and say that by the end of the year he's going to have matched Jack Nicklaus' 18. But, you know --

[15:10:02] WHITFIELD: We'll never know. I mean, it might be his pursuit.

RIDDELL: -- he's competing again, he's (INAUDIBLE) again.

WHITFIELD: Right.

RIDDELL: Right. But that will be the narrative now. Going into every golf tournament, the question is going to be, is Tiger Woods going to win another one? That's not something we've taken for granted for more than a decade.

You know, one of the most impressive things about this win this week is the fact that all the guys chasing him were all major winners themselves, or many of them were. Certainly at the end of the third round last night, you looked at all the top names on the leaderboard, and they all knew what it was like to win a major. Back in the day, he was the only guy winning them. So, the competition is much tougher now.

WHITFIELD: Ye.

RIDDELL: But, clearly he deserves it. He absolutely deserved it this week. He's managing his body to peak for the majors. He's not too concerned about the other events on tour --

WHITFIELD: And we're watching the moment, Don.

RIDDELL: -- so he will be ready for the next one.

WHITFIELD: I don't know if you (INAUDIBLE). We're just watching the moment for the first time on this air of him actually, you know, getting the jacket, put on and to see his, you know, ear-to-ear smile there, really nice.

And for him right now while we're pontificating about everything else down the road right now, he is savoring this moment, we know, and, you know, everyone who has been enamored by his play and by watching the tournament are savoring that win right now, too. Don, stick around. I want to invite into the conversation now -- oh, you know what, sorry, we're going to take a break from talking about Tiger Woods because we're going to take you to South Bend, Indiana soon where the next potential contender in the race for the White House, Pete Buttigieg, I think they are summoning him to the stage.

And there he is. So let's listen in as he makes his special announcement there in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, at least the town that he has been mayor of. Let's listen in.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. Hello, South Bend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Pete.

BUTTIGIEG: It means so much to be here with all of you today. And I want to thank everybody who is part of that program, Father Brian for your guidance and prayers, for not being fazed by divine intervention, Bishop Miller for your spiritual and civic leadership, Janet Hines- Norris for that amazing performance.

I want to thank our fire department, honor guard and thank all of our first responders for everything you do to keep us safe. Thank you, Renee Ferguson, for your mentorship and your passion for justice. And Mrs. Chismar, everyone should have at least one person in their lives who believes in them the way you believe in your students.

To my fellow mayors, Mayor Cabaldon, Mayor Whaley and Mayor Adler, extraordinary leaders in the community of mayors as well as in their own cities and all of the current and former mayors here today, I thank you for your service at a time when local leadership has never mattered more.

And I want to ask everyone here to help thank my unbelievable talented staff and volunteers each doing the work of 10 people, living out the values of this project and making it all possible. Thank you.

Thank you to my mom who is here physically and my dad who is here in more ways than he could ever have imagined, and to Chasten, my love. And I'm pretty fond of him, too, for giving me the strength to do this and the grounding to be myself as we go.

[15:15:09] For everyone from around South Bend joining us today, thank you for giving me the chance to be Mayor Pete. And for everyone who came from far and wide, welcome to South Bend.

It is a source of deep pleasure to be able to share our hometown with you. I'm glad that you can so it for yourself, because this city's story is such a big part of why I'm doing this. I grew up in South Bend in the same neighborhood where Chasten and I live today with our two dogs, Buddy and Truman. My father immigrated to this country because he knew it was the best place in the world to get an advanced education. He became an American citizen and met my mother, a young professor, who it the daughter of an army colonel and a piano teacher. And they moved here for work, settled into a house on the west side and pretty soon after that I came on the scene.

The South Bend I grew up in was still recovering from economic disasters that had played out before I was even born. Once in this city we housed the companies that helped power America into the 20th century. Think of the forces that built this building we're standing in now, and the countless others like it now long gone.

Think of the wealth that was created here. Picture the thousands of workers who came through these doors every day and the thousands of families that they provided for. And think what have must have been like that day in 1963 when the great Studebaker auto company collapsed and the shocked brought our city to its knees.

Buildings like this one fell quiet and acres of land around us slowly became a rust escape of industrial decline, collapsing factories everywhere, houses that had been full of life and love and hope stood crumbling and vacant.

And for the next half century, it took heroic efforts just to keep our city running as population shrank and young people like me grew up believing that the only way to a good life was to get out. And many of us did, but then some of us came back.

We wanted things to change around here, and when the national press called us a dying city at the beginning of this decade, we took that as a call to arms. I ran for mayor in 2011 knowing that nothing like Studebaker would ever come back, but believing we would, our city would, if we had the courage to re-imagine our future. And now I can confidently say South Bend is back.

More people are moving into South Bend than we've seen in a generation. Thousands of new jobs have been added in our area, billions in investment. Now, there's a long way for us to go, but we have changed our trajectory and shown a path forward for communities like ours, and that's why I'm here today, to tell a different story than make America great again.

Because there's a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities, the myth that we can stop the clock and turn it back. It comes from people who think the only way to speak to communities like ours is through resentment and nostalgia. They're selling an impossible promise of returning to a bygone era that was never as great as advertised to begin with.

The problem is that they're telling us to look for greatness in all the wrong places, because if there's one thing that the city of South Bend has shown is that there is no such thing as an honest politics that revolves around the world again. It is time to walk away from the politics of the past and towards something totally different.

[15:20:04] So that's why I'm here today.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm here to join you to make a little news. My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete. I'm a proud son of South Bend, Indiana and I am running for the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg.

BUTTIGIEG: I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor. More than a little bold at age 37 to seek the highest office in the land. Up until recently this is not exactly what I had in mind either for how I was going to spend my eighth year as mayor and 38th year in this world, but we live in a moment that compels us each to act.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Pete.

BUTTIGIEG: The forces changing our country today are tectonic, forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. That's why this time it's not just about winning an election, it's about winning an era.

Not just about the next four years, it's about preparing our country for a better life in 2030, in 2040, and in the year 2054 when God willing I get to be the same age as our current President.

I take that long view because I have to. I come from that generation that grew up with school shootings as the norm, the generation that produced the bulk of the troops in the post-9/11 conflicts, the generation that is going to be on the business end of climate change for as long as we live.

We're a generation that stands to be the first ever in America to come out worse off economically than our parents if we don't do something truly different. This is one of those rare moments in between whole eras in the life of our nation.

I was born in another such moment in the early '80s when a half century of new deal liberalism gave way to 40 years of Reagan-style supply-side conservatism that created the terms for how Democrats as well as Republicans made policy, and that era, too, is now over.

So if America today feels like a confusing place to live, it's because we're on one of those blank pages in between chapters. Change is coming, you're ready or not. The question of our time is whether families and workers will be defeated by the changes beneath us, or whether we will master them and make them work toward a better every day life for us all.

[15:25:04] And a moment like that calls for hopeful and audacious voices from communities like ours. And, yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership in this country. The principles that will guide my campaign for president are simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker, freedom, security and democracy. First comes freedom, something our conservative friends have come to think of as their own. But let me tell you, freedom does not belong to just one political party.

Freedom has been the Democratic bedrock ever since the new deal, freedom from want, freedom from fear. Our conservative friends care about freedom, but they only make it part of the way. They only see freedom from.

Freedom from taxes, freedom from regulation, as though government were the only thing that can make somebody unfree, but it's not true. Your neighbor can make you unfree. Your cable company can make you unfree.

Your freedom depends on a lot more than just the size of your government. Healthcare is freedom, because you're not free if you can't start a small business when leaving your job means losing your healthcare.

Consumer protection is freedom, because you're not free if you can't sue your credit card company even after they get caught ripping you off. Racial justice is freedom, because you're not free if there's a veil of mistrust between people of color and the officers sworn to keep us safe.

Empowering teachers means freedom, because you're not free in your own classroom if your ability to do your job is reduced to a number on a page. Women's equality is freedom, because you're not free in your reproductive health choices are dictated by male politicians.

Organized labor sows freedom because you're not free if you can't organize for a fair day's pay for a good day's work. And take it from Chasten and me, you're not free if a county clerk gets to tell you who they ought to marry because of their idea of their political beliefs.

The chance to live a life of your choosing in keeping with your values, that is freedom in its richest sense, and we know that good government secures freedom just as much as bad government denies it.

Now let's talk about security. The idea that security and patriotism belong to one political party needs to end today. We are here to say that there is a lot more to safety and security than putting up a wall from sea to shining sea.

To those in charge of our border policy, I want to make this clear, the greatest nation in the world should have nothing to fear from children fleeing violence and even more importantly -- even more importantly, children fleeing violence ought to have nothing to fear from the greatest country in the world.

[15:30:13] Security means cyber security. It means election security. It means keeping us safe in the face of violent white nationalism rearing its ugly head around the country. Let's pick our heads up to face what might be the greatest security issue of our time, climate change and climate disruption. No region of our country is immune to that threat. We've seen it in the floods in Nebraska, the tornadoes in Alabama, the hurricane in Puerto Rico and the fires in California.

We saw it right here in this city where as mayor we had to fire up the operations center, the emergency operation center of this city twice in two years. First came a thousand-year rainfall and then came a 500-year river flood, 18 months apart.

Now by my math, the chance of that happening is about 125,000 to 1. So either we should all be heading down to four wins later to try to recreate those odds on the slots or something is changing around us. And we're not even having a contest over whose climate plan is better because only one side brought forth any plans at all.

If you don't like our plans on climate, fine, show us yours. Our economy is on the line. Our future is on the line. Lives are on the line, so let's call this what it is. Climate security, a life and death issue for our generation.

And now let's talk about democracy, because no issue we care about from gun safety to immigration, from climate to education to paid family leave. None of it will be handled well unless our democracy is in better shape.

Our democratic republic is an elegant system, but lately it hasn't been quite Democratic enough. It's not Democratic enough if legitimate voters are denied the ability to exercise their rights because one side thinks as a matter of political strategy that they're better off if fewer citizens are able to vote.

It is hardly democracy if Citizens United means that dollars can drown out the will of the people. It's not much of a Republic if our districts are drawn so that politicians get to choose their voters instead of the other way around.

It's nowhere near the democracy that I swore to protect with my life when U.S. citizens from Washington, D.C. to Puerto Rico don't even have the same political representation as the rest of us.

And we can't say it's much of a democracy when twice in my lifetime the Electoral College has overruled the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete.

BUTTIGIEG: Why should our vote in Indiana only count once or twice in a century, or your vote in Wyoming or New York? So let's make it easier to register and to vote. Let's make our districts fairer. Let's make our courts less political, our structures more inclusive. And, yes, let's pick our president by counting up all the ballots and giving it to the woman or man who got the most votes.

[15:35:18] Now, I like talking about systems and structures, philosophies and theories, but nothing about politics is theoretical for me. Someone said all politics is local. I would say all politics is personal. Time and time again moments in my life have forced me to realize what politics really means.

I learned it when I went overseas on the orders of a commander in chief. When you write a letter and put it in an envelope marked just in case and set it where your folks can find it, you never again lose sight of the stakes.

And by the way, when I was overseas, each one of the 119 trips I took outside the wire driving or guarding a vehicle, we learned what it is to trust fellow Americans with our lives.

The men and women, the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and civilians who got in my vehicle, they didn't care if I was a Democrat or a Republican. They cared if I had selected the route with the fewest IED threats, not whether my father was documented or undocumented when he immigrated here.

They cared if my M4 was locked and loaded, not whether I was going home to a girlfriend or a boyfriend. They just wanted to come home safe like I did. They wanted what everyone wants, to do a good job, to live well and to come home. And making sure that kind of thing happens is what politics is for.

Politics matters because it hits home. It hits home at our most vulnerable moments, like the day last fall when I left my mother's hospital bedside to go find my dad across town in the middle of his chemotherapy treatment to let him know she was going to need immediate heart surgery, not the kind of thing you put in a text message. So I had to go find him. By the way, mom's fine. She's right over there. Right over there with my amazing in-laws, but that's a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did good, mom.

BUTTIGIEG: So that tough day I had a few things going for me as difficult as it was. I had Father Brian who gave the invocation today who lifted us with faith and companionship and I had my husband Chasten.

He was right there at the hospital. He stayed there. He was at the hospital where he belonged, because in the eyes of the hospital and the state and the law he was not just someone I loved, he was my lawfully married spouse.

Our marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court. Nine women and men sat down in a room and took a vote and they brought me the most important freedom in my life. Mom started getting better, right away. Dad started getting worse. We lost him earlier this year.

And I watched -- as I watched things change from him caring for her to her caring for him and the two of us trying to take care of the two of them. Once again, we found our lives shaped by the decisions of those with power over us. Decisions that made us better off because some people in Washington made the decision to bring us something called Medicare.

So when I think about how we had to navigate those tough family decisions, I think about how fortunate we were that all we had to think about was what was right medically for mom and dad both, not whether our family was going to go bankrupt over this.

[15:40:02] That's how government touches our lives. It's how policies bring us freedom. And when it comes to health care, I want every American to have that same benefit.

This is why Washington matters. Not the political ups and downs, not the daily drama of who looked good on cable in a committee meeting, but the way that a chain of events that begins in one of those stately white buildings reaches into our lives, into our homes, our paychecks, our doctors' offices, our marriages.

That is why this country was invented in the first place, and that is what's at stake today. At least, that's how it supposed to work. When something is grotesque, it's hard to look away. And the horror show in Washington is mesmerizing, it's all-consuming. But starting today, we're going to change the channel.

Sometimes a dark moment brings out the best in us, helps us find what is good in us. Dare I say, what is great in us. Because I do believe in American greatness, I believe in American values, and I believe that we can guide this country and one another to a better place. After all, running for office is an act of hope.

You don't do it unless you think the pulleys and levers of our government can be used and if necessary redesigned to make the life of this nation better for us all. You don't do it unless you believe in the power of a law, a decision, sometimes even just a speech, to make the right kind of difference, to change our lives for the better, to call us to our highest values. Things get better if we make them better.

After all, you and I stand now in a building that was a symbol of our city's decline, where new jobs are now being created in industries that didn't even exist when they poured this concrete and laid this brick. You and I now stand in a city that formally incorporated in 1865, the last year of a war that nearly destroyed this country. What an act of hope that must have been?

We stand on the shoulders of optimistic women and men, women and men who knew that optimism is not a lack of knowledge, it is a source of courage. And it will take courage to move on from our past. We're not going back.

You know, if I did get a chance to go back, it wouldn't be out of a desire to live in that past. If I went into the past, it'd go just twenty years back so I can find that teenage boy in the basement of his parents' brick house, thinking long thoughts as we played the same guitar lick over and over again on his little Stratocaster, wondering how he could belong in this world, wondering if his intellectual curiosity means he'll never fit in, wondering if his last name will be a stumbling block for the rest of his life, wondering what it means when he sometimes feels a certain way about young men he sees in the hall at school, if it means he'll never wear the uniform, never be accepted, never know love. If I found him and told him what was ahead, would he believe me?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete. Pete.

[15:45:09] BUTTIGIEG: I can picture, if I could put my arm around him and tell him that he was going to see the world and serve his country, that he would not only find belonging in his hometown, but be entrusted by its citizens with the duty of leading it and shaping it.

That he would have a hand in transforming the neighborhoods he knew as a boy, and that he would help the lights come back on in that giant factory whose broken windows loomed like the face of a ghost over the ballpark where his dad used to take him to games, where he wondered if this city was his own.

To tell him that he'll be all right, more than all right. To tell him that one rainy April day, before he even turns 40, he'll wake up to headlines about whether he's rising too quickly into becoming a top- tier contender for the American presidency. And --

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Buttigieg.

BUTTIGIEG: And to tell him that on that day when he announces his campaign for president, he'll do it with his husband looking on. How can you live that story and not believe that America deserves our optimism, deserves our courage, and deserves our hope.

Yes, running for office is an act of hope, so is supporting someone running for office. So this afternoon, are you not hopeful? Do we not live in a country that can overcome the bleakness of a challenging and divided moment? Are you ready to turn the page and start a new chapter in the American story?

You joined me. If you and I rise together to meet this moment, one day they will write histories, not just about one campaign or one presidency, but about the era that began here today in this building where past, present, and future meet right here this chilly day in South Bend.

It's a little cold out, its little cold inside too, but we've had it with winter. You and I have the chance to usher in a new American spring. So with hope in our hearts and with fire in our bellies, let's get to work and let's make history. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana mayor there making it official saying he is in for the race -- into the race for the White House. And right off the bat, you know, taking direct aim at the White House, calling it a horror show in Washington that is mesmerizing but we are going to change the channel, and promising to tell a very different story than make America great again. Instead, he was very critical saying, you know, returning to a bygone era was never that great to begin with and he is on stage there with his husband, Chasten, making it very clear that all things are possible and that he's ready to make history.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is also in South Bend where this Democratic mayor has made that special announcement as it was, you know, advertised earlier that he's in the race for the White House, making some, you know, very simple but at the same time very lofty promises about what his campaign is going to be about.

[15:50:18]And he said he could put the principles right on a bumper sticker, you know, freedom, democracy, security. So, Vanessa, tell me about this crowd there, and how enthusiastic they've bee been.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Hi there, Fredricka. Yes, just at the top with a little loud in here. But he addressed this crowd and before he came in here, he actually addressed the overflow crowd outside to make sure that they got to see him. They were standing in the rain for hours.

But as you mentioned, he highlighted three principles. But before he did that, let's take a listen to how he introduced himself as he was running to be the next President of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUTTIGIEG: The problem is that they're telling us to look for greatness in all the wrong places, because if there is one thing the city of South Bend has shown, it's that there is no such thing as an honest politics that revolves around the word again. It is time to walk away from the politics of the past and toward something totally different.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH: And he went on to describe those three principles that you mentioned, Fredricka, freedom, security and democracy. He talked about racial equality, women's equality, fair wage, fair pay. And he talks about the most important freedom, Fredricka, and that was the right to love whomever he wanted and to marry whomever he wanted.

He married his husband, Chasten, just last year. He talked about the biggest moment of his life being just that. But, you know, Fredricka, just a month ago, people didn't know who Pete Buttigieg was.

He rose to sort of prominence right after the CNN town hall. He's done many, many media interviews on different pod casts, going on "The View." And he's really made sort of a name for himself in this last month.

We have two polls that came out just last week in New Hampshire and Iowa that now put him in third place just behind Biden, who hasn't even announced that he's in the race yet, and Bernie Sanders.

Fredricka, it's going to be really interesting to watch whether or not Pete Buttigieg can keep this momentum up. You know, there's a lot of reporters here in town as I'm here in South Bend for a couple days now. You can definitely feel the energy, but the question is we're 18 months away from the election, can he keep this momentum up and will that energy carry across the country and all the way through the debate and into the primary, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And, Vanessa, what about the prospects of raising money because, of course, you know, having, you know, a good treasure chest is essential in staying in the race, and it's still very early.

And now the field is something like 18, you know, Democratic candidates and he has, you know, raised an impressive $7 million, you know, in a very short amount of time and, you know, ascended in the polls but, what about the level of confidence in his camp about being able to raise more?

YURKEVICH: Yes, that's right. You know, he came out with that big number, $7 million compared to others, like Booker and Warren, who are more well-known, who have raised less than him.

But, you know, his campaign has told me that they're really looking to keep it lean, they're looking to keep that money sort of in the bank. They're not going to be hiring a ton of speech writers or strategists or pollsters. They really want to continue to run this campaign very much like a start-up.

They think it's worked for them before, and they -- it worked for them up until now. But, you know, he's going to be hitting the road. He's going to New York for a fundraiser on Monday. He'll then be heading to Iowa and then to New Hampshire.

So, we know he's going to be getting out there right away, not wasting anytime and, Fred, really capitalizing on this moment.

WHITFIELD: Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much from South Bend. We'll check back with you.

All right, with me right now is Alexandra Rojas, Executive Director of Justice Democrats, Hilary Rosen, a Democratic Strategist, and Alice Stewart, a Republican Strategist, good to see all of you.

So, Alexandra, New York Post, you know, wrote that this born and bread American rustbelt Democrat could give the President a real run for his money. And you saw from Pete Buttigieg that he was not afraid to take on the President. The President's "Make It Great Again" slogan, so many of his policies, like head on. Is this just the beginning of what's to come?

ALEXANDRA ROJAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: Its undeniable how incredibly impressive Pete Buttigieg is talking about intergenerational justice and trying to court the progressive movement.

[15:55:05] I think the thing that was sort of interesting that he talked a lot about this sort of changing to a different type of politics but was light on policy at least in this one interview. So I think the question for our progressive movement is going to be, is he going to align himself with policy proposals like Medicare for all?

He's already talked about a Green New Deal, which is extremely encouraging, but also came out against free college. So, I think we're still have a healthy skepticism, right, of sort of what he brings to the table, but a very excited that we are seeing a millennial championing this new generation of politics and I'm looking forward to getting to know him more.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And, you know, it took a real dig at the current administration, you know, saying, you know, only one side, you know, has a plan when talking about climate change. And if you don't like our plan, show us yours.

I mean, Hilary Rosen, he was, you know, directly challenging the sitting president on a number of things that being -- one of them, you know, how does this mayor of South Bend, you know, have this kind of gumption to do this?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I loved how he started out by saying essentially, how, you know, it was audacious for him to be standing there --

WHITFIELD: Very Obama-sque kind of lingo, too, by the way on that.

ROSEN: True, true, running for president. You know, look, I came out 40 years ago as gay in college and can't imagine at that time being here when somebody was sort of being taken so seriously running for president. So, I think the magic of Mayor Pete today is, you know, not so much as Alexandra talked about sort of in his proposals.

And I think, frankly, most of these Democratic candidates are going to be pretty close to each other on their policy proposals. I think the magic in each one of them is the story they have to tell and the hope that they inspire, and the intensity with which their followers will move through a primary process, to the polls, getting people energized and being willing to take on President Trump.

And I think he showed today that he has a compelling story, that he's prepared to give it everywhere, talking about your husband in a state like Indiana which is we know elected Mike Pence governor and still discriminate against people for being gay or lesbian is a pretty audacious thing and he does it kind of what gusto.

And I think taking a message of fearlessness no matter who you are across this country, whether you are, you know, a recent immigrant, or whether you are a lesbian in Mississippi, or whether you are a working mother in, you know, the South Bronx, barely able to make it. I think that that kind of energy and optimism is his story today. And I think that it was compelling.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And he mentioned his husband, you know, Chasten, several times, really at the top and then bringing him out on the stage at the end, you know, and calling him "my love." I mean, he revealed a very personal side of Pete Buttigieg.

And, you know, Alice, a candidate, it's about inspiring, you know. And he said, you know, "We live in a moment that compels each of us to act. It's not about winning an election, it's about winning an era."

So he is distinguishing himself by age as well along with all the other things that differentiate himself from the candidates, you know, the field of 18. He is calling upon a distinction between he and the sitting president of the United States, Alice.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He sure is. And inspiring us is one of the many words we can use what we've seen today. And as he said today, he is a Midwestern millennial who is making history really given his background announcing for president.

And Alexandra and Hilary are both right in regards to a lot of these Democratic candidates are very similar in their policies and Pete Buttigieg is light on expanding on his policies, but it's working for him.

What he is doing is very smart at this point. When you're in a situation like him, you don't have a name ID as Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden or the money, $7 million is nice but it's not compared to what they have.

WHITFIELD: Not enough yet.

STEWART: He is very -- right. He is very smart to tell his personal story and be light on policy and it's working. What I particularly like is that rather self-deprecating humor and speech talking about how he was worried about peeking too soon.

In the RealClearPolitics average, he is just over 3 percent and Joe Biden is at 31 percent. But keep in mind, we are 10 months away from the Iowa caucus. He has a long way to go.

And the good thing with him, Mayor Pete, is he is on an upward trajectory. He is doing well. And I think he's doing well to continue to go out there, make his case individually to the people. He has a very good demeanor. He has an ability to connect.

I think he is someone that we really certainly need to keep an eye on with regard to moving forward, because he has an inspirational story to tell people. And if he continues to do as he's doing now, he is someone --

WHITFIELD: You see him as --