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Buttigieg in Sioux City says tone is important in leading all Americans
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Buttigieg in Sioux City says tone is important in leading all Americans

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks

Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks about LGBTQ rights during a presidential candidate town hall at West Middle School in Sioux City on Tuesday.

SIOUX CITY -- A crowd of 180 people turned out to hear Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg in spite of a growing Tuesday evening snowstorm, where the frontrunner in Iowa fielded some atypical questions on vaping, on syringe use and from a self-identified drag queen.

Buttigieg said the ongoing national tone under Republican President Donald Trump is that large groups of people, due to their color or sexual orientation, are disparaged. He said that is misguided, so as president he would ensure a much different tone is aired.

"You can't love a country if you hate half the people in it," Buttigieg said, while referring to Trump's "flag-hugging" and "cheap nationalism."

He took six questions at the end of the 35-minute town hall meeting, and told the young man who said he was a local drag queen that there is a "war on transgender Americans." Buttigieg, who is a gay married man, said people are misguided when thinking LGBTQ people have no problems since marriage equality became a reality a few years ago.

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks
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Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks
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Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks
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Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks
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Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks

"This is about saying from the highest office that we belong ... We need you, we need whatever you have to offer," Buttigieg said.

He also spoke about his religious faith, along with the need to ensure religious tolerance in the First Amendment. Buttigieg said it is imperative to protect the rights of people belonging to all religions and also those who are not religious.

"God doesn't belong to one party," Buttigieg said.

In the first Buttigieg rally in Sioux City in July, he was gaining traction in a field of 20-plus Democrats, and 550 people energetically took part. Upon returning almost five months later Tuesday, he was among the top tier of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa.

On both city stops, Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, used schools as his venues, but this time the snow likely reduced the crowd at West Middle School, said Marcus Osborne, of Sioux City. Osborne said he wouldn't be daunted by the storm and miss the opportunity.

"I have seen his ads on TV. I just wanted to go. The snow never really bothers me that much," Osborne said.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks

Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks about health care during a presidential candidate town hall at West Middle School in Sioux City on Tuesday.

"I want to thank you for braving the elements to be here," Buttigieg told the crowd.

A winter storm warning blanketed virtually all of Siouxland, to last until 9 a.m. Wednesday.

According to recent polls, Buttigieg is in the Democratic top polling tier with just over two months to the Iowa caucuses. Political commentators recently have said he appears to be heading for the moderate wing of the party, where Joe Biden also sits, while other Iowa leaders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are seen in the more liberal wing.

[PETE BUTTIGIEG: Let's make sure Iowans can retire, age with dignity.]

Buttigieg said he is seeking both liberal and moderate Democrats, plus others who like his stance on issues. Buttigieg said key issues involve addressing climate change, bringing down the cost of college, and giving a path to citizenship for undocumented people living in the U.S in the currently "broken immigration system."

Republican National Committee Spokeswoman Preya Samsundar in a release said Buttigieg's support of the Green New Deal would have a derogatory impact on agriculture pieces of the Iowa economy.

“Pete Buttigieg may come from a Midwest state, but it's clear that he doesn't hold Midwest values," Samsundar said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Buttigieg spoke in two other Siouxland stops in Denison and Storm Lake.

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Bootleggers
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Pinky's Ice Cream & Hot Dogs
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Sioux City Pita Pit
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Hamilton Bar & Grill
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