-Did you have a good
Mother’s Day? -Yeah, it was great. Yeah, I had a
family brunch yesterday. Mom’s actually right here. -She’s at the show today?
-Where is she? Yeah. -Is that right?
-There she is. -Hey, there’s your mom.
Hi, mom! Hi, mom. Aww. She’s beautiful.
Oh, great. Is mom from — Where’s mom from? -She grew up in Southern Indiana
and then all around the country. Her dad was in the Army,
so she’s from a little bit of everywhere,
but settled in South Bend about 40 years ago with my dad, and I came on the scene
pretty soon after that. -Yeah, exactly. You’ve been busy this past week. You got insulted by the
President of the United States. -Yeah. That’s how you know
you’ve made it. -Yeah. Absolutely. He compared you — He called you
Alfred E. Neuman. -Yeah. What do you think? -The President of the
United States called you that. Wow. What goes through your mind
when that happens. -You know, we talk a lot about
elevating the dialogue, so I guess the fact
that I inspired him to make a literary reference
possibly for the first time… [ Cheers and applause ]
♪♪ -Oh, my goodness.
Oh, my goodness. Not bad. Everyone is talking about
your age and how young you are. You’re 37 years old.
-Yeah. -But you were mayor at when?
29? -Yeah, I was 29
when I got elected, so it’s my eighth year now. -Wow! And when you —
This is a dumb question, but when you’re the mayor,
do you give out keys to the city
and stuff still? -Oh, yeah. Yeah. It’s one of your most important
ceremonial duties. -They still do that? -Oh, yeah, totally.
Yeah, it’s nice. It’s kind of gold plated
or at least it looks like it. -Is there anyone famous
you’ve ever given the key to? -Yeah. Well, one of the
first ones I did was for Jerry Seinfeld,
but I had to trick him into accepting it. -He didn’t want it?
-Yeah, yeah. So, I found out
he was coming to South Bend. He was performing at our
Morris Civic Auditorium. It’s this beautiful theater
we have in South Bend. And I thought, “This is a major
American cultural figure. I’m a new mayor.” I’m like, “I’d better give him
a key to the city.” So we had it made up. I had a little plaque. It said, “Thanks for all
the laughs, Jerry,” you know. And we said to his team,
“You know, it’s cool if he wants to do a low-key
backstage thing. That’s fine.
However Jerry wants to do it.” For me to give him the key. And then the day
the event rolls around, and we haven’t heard back. And, finally, they say, “Oh, no.
He doesn’t want to do it. You know, it’s an election year. He doesn’t do
anything political.” -Jerry Seinfeld
said no to the key to the city? -Yeah. So, then I went back
to the office and I checked with
our secretary, who had been there for
like 15 years. I was like, “Is there
any record of someone ever refusing a key
to the city?” -This is such an episode of
“Seinfeld.” [ As Seinfeld ] He’s like, “I don’t want
the key to the city. I don’t want to able to get in.
I want to be locked out. I want to be locked out
of the city. I don’t want to be in.
You keep the key.” -Yeah, but now it’s like a
crisis of civic prestige, right? Because I don’t want to be
the first mayor ever to have the key
to the city refused. And I’ll be dammed if
Jerry Seinfeld is going to do that
to me, right? So I’m thinking, “All right,
what do we do? What do we do?” And I got a ticket to the show.
I had the key with me. Got there, got a nice seat
close to the front. He gave this great stand-up.
His stand-up is fantastic. -Oh, he’s one of the best. -And at the end, there’s a —
You know, people loved it, so he comes back out, but
there’s no encore. He just started
taking questions. The first question is like —
I don’t know — You know, “What was Kramer
like off the set?” or whatever. And then I thought,
“Now is my chance.” So I wave my hand real high,
and he calls on me. And my question, of course, was, “Will you accept
the key to the city?” [ Cheers and applause ]
-Yes! This guy gets it done.
He can’t say no, right? -No. He’s like, “What’s that?
The key to the city?” And then, I think by the time
he said that, I was up there. They couldn’t stop me,
’cause it was a city facility. Gave him the key, gave a wave,
got out of there. Nobody refuses a key
to the city. -No, exactly right.
Don’t mess with this guy. -You’re very proud about
your time in the military. You spent some time
in Afghanistan. Is this — What’s —
-Oh, yeah. -This is — What year is this?
-That was 2014. -And do you remember this scene? -Yeah, that was probably
the best day of my deployment. So, one of the
side projects we did — I was stationed in Kabul, but I worked with
the chaplain’s office. People kept sending
humanitarian goods, and so they needed people who
were qualified on a rifle, ’cause you had to have
that qualification for some of us to take a
vehicle outside the wire in order to get these goods
to this orphanage. We had —
I can’t remember how much. It was like 600 or 800 pounds of
stuff people sent — you know,
school supplies and clothes. And, so, we went into the city and we wound up
meeting all these kids. There was a Boy Scout program
going on at this orphanage. It was just a reminder that,
you know, even in the middle of a war,
you know, most people’s full-time job during a war
is not to be in a war. They’re going about their lives. And it was a reminder of just
kind of the humanity that is there in
this hauntingly beautiful city even as this awful situation
was going on around it. -Yeah. I mean,
what do you do as a kid? -You know, the thing
is — they’re just kids, right? They behave like kids anywhere. They’re running around.
You know, they’ve got candy. They’re joking. And you just think about, “What’s the future for
a child in a country like this?” But there was a lot of really
good work going on with some of the organizations,
like the group called PARSA that ran this orphanage. And I wonder what happened to
some of those kids that are in those pictures. -Oh, that’s nice that you did
that and gave us your time. Now that you’re on the road
and you’re talking to everybody and you’re campaigning,
what is the big issue that is being brought up? -Yeah. Well, we’re talking a lot
about democratic reform, just because I think all
the issues we care about, of which I think climate is
probably the most pressing — But it’s gonna be hard to deal
with any issue as long as Congress is set up
with districts where, you know, politicians are
choosing their voters, instead of the other way around. For my dime,
we ought to elect our president just by a national popular vote
and just count up the votes and give it to the person
who gets the most votes. So…
[ Cheers and applause ] So, there’s a lot of structural
reform we got to go, but also climate. Climate’s a
life-and-death issue, you know, especially for
my generation and those coming after. For the rest of our lives,
you know, our chances in life will be partly decided
by whether or not our economy can survive all the climate
disruption going on. As a mayor, we’ve already had to
deal with historic flooding. You know, we had a
once-in-a-1,000-year flood, followed by a once-in-a-500-year
flood, they told us, two years apart,
so it’s a huge issue. -What can we do? -Well, there’s a lot of things
we could do right away. Major federal investment
in renewables, carbon storage, energy storage. There’s also a plan called
a carbon tax and dividend. Basically, you set a price on
things that put carbon into the atmosphere,
but then you can rebate that back out to the American people,
so most of us would actually be economically
better off if we did it. Meanwhile, it would help change
the economic incentives so that you’d see less activity
that hurts the environment, because the true cost is not
reflected in the price of, for example,
energy that comes from coal. If you’re facing
the true price of it, you’d have to set that price
a lot higher. -Is there it money? Is that what you’re
really fighting — -That’s part of it. You know, there’s, obviously,
a fossil-fuel industry, that is really committed to
keeping things the way they are, which is why our campaign signed
a pledge that we’re not going to accept any funding
from the fossil-fuel industry. -Really?
[ Cheers and applause ] -Final question. Very important. Who do you think will be
on the throne at the end of “Game of Thrones.” -All right, so, we’ve been
campaigning pretty hard, so no spoilers. I’m an episode behind.
-Me too. Oh, good. -Okay. All right. Good.
We’re in the same boat. -This is fantastic.
We could talk all night. -Up until this year,
this season, I was pretty much on
Team Daenerys. I felt like she was really
growing in her leadership style. -Of course. -I’m a little concerned now,
based on what I’ve seen in the last few episodes, that her kind of
management approach has kind of got some issues. -Her management approach.
-I’m kind of back to square one. I don’t know. I’m rooting for Jon Snow —
maybe not the brightest, but definitely,
you know, got a good heart. -Wow.
-Tough to say. -What a great answer to a
“Game of Thrones” question. You put a lot
of thought into it. I appreciate that. Thank you.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, everybody.