Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE said Sunday he didn’t set out to be “the gay president” when he launched his 2020 campaign, but added that he recognizes the significance of being the first major openly gay  candidate for the White House. 

“I didn’t set out to be the gay president, but certainly seeing what this means is really meaningful and really powerful,” Buttigieg said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

His comments came after he emerged in dead heat with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) for first place in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, with both candidates declaring victory. 

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“The reality is, prejudice is still out there and you’ve got to deal with it. But I would not have been able to get reelected the way I did so in in Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE’s Indiana if people were not able to look past that,” Buttigieg said. “And every time somebody seeks to break barriers, pundits try to make it about electability.”

NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddChris Wallace to Colbert: US hasn’t seen this level of unrest since 1968 Demings: ‘We are long overdue for every law enforcement agency in our nation to review itself’ DC mayor: ‘I think that the president has a responsibility to help calm the nation’ MORE asked Buttigieg if he’s looked beyond the question of electability and reflected on the momentous nature of his campaign and its success. 

“There was a moment before we went out, when Chasten pulled me and just reminded me what this means for some kid peeking around the closet door wondering if this country has a place for him,” Buttigieg said, referring to a conversation he had with his husband. 

Buttigieg would become the first openly gay presidential candidate from either major party if he were to win the nomination. 

The Democratic will face off in New Hampshire on Tuesday for the first-in-the-nation primary. 

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