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According to a forthcoming book by veteran author Bob Woodward, then-candidate Joe Biden reluctantly approved a campaign ad, cursing his then-primary rival Pete Buttigieg’s record as South Bend mayor.
Woodward and Robert Costa’s new book “Peril” describes how Biden’s campaign, struggling in the Democratic presidential primary in early 2020, pulled together a new attack ad called “Pete’s Record” Which as a small town contrasted Buttigieg’s experience as mayor with Biden’s experience as vice president.
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Ironically, the ad says that both candidates have “fought a hard fight.”
“Under the threat of a nuclear Iran, Joe Biden helped negotiate the Iran deal,” the ad said before lighting up the music. “And Pete Buttigieg talks lighter licensing rules on pet chip scanners, under threat of pet disappearing.”
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It compared Buttigieg’s decorative brick installation with Biden’s efforts to save the economy after the 2008 economic crisis.
With the campaign struggling for the money, Woodward reported that consultant Mike Donillon argued that it was necessary to release it to the media and YouTube in order for it to be picked up.
“I hate it,” Biden reportedly said, but corrected its release.
The attack ad would face criticism that it showed frustration with Biden and was a crappy, dirty hit. But “Peril” details how Biden reportedly changed his mind on allowing its release six hours later.
“Take it off,” he reportedly told Donilon. “Take it back. I don’t want to air it anymore. Take it down!”
But by then it was too late and the media had already picked it up.
Biden will receive the nomination months later to recover from his primary slump.
Buttigieg eventually dropped out of the race, endorsed Biden and was later nominated by the new chairman for the position of transportation secretary – where he currently serves.