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Pete Buttigieg campaign accused of lying about black support in South Carolina with misleading news release


'Not an accurate representation'

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign has been accused of lying about, or at least misrepresenting, its support from black leaders in South Carolina, according to the Intercept.

Buttigieg's campaign is surging in national polls — especially in Iowa — but he has earned almost no support among black voters — a voting bloc that dominates South Carolina, an early primary state.

Late last month, the campaign began promoting a list of black leaders and other supporters in South Carolina who backed Buttigieg's plan for improving the lives of black Americans, titled, "The Douglass Plan: A Comprehensive Investment in the Empowerment of Black America."

The campaign published a news release in the HBCU Times, a news outlet catered toward black colleges and universities, that listed three black leaders who it said supported the plan, and a list of hundreds of other supporters.

However, the three leaders listed say their stance on Buttigieg and the plan has been misrepresented, and at least 40 percent of the names listed as supporters are white, with even some of those being from outside South Carolina.

The three leaders highlighted were City Councilwoman Tameika Devine, state Rep. Ivory Thigpen, and state Democratic Black Caucus Chairman Johnnie Cordero.

Devine said that while she likes the Douglass plan, she does not endorse Buttigieg and felt the campaign was intentionally misleading in its presentation.

"I do think they probably put it out there thinking people wouldn't read the fine print or wouldn't look at the details or even contact the people and say, 'Hey, you're endorsing Mayor Pete?'" Devine said.

Thigpen is a Bernie Sanders supporter and said he doesn't endorse Buttigieg or his plan.

Cordero also doesn't support Buttigieg or the plan, and has since been removed from the list of public supporters. He said an email requiring people to opt-out if they didn't want to be included in the news release led to his inclusion.

Additionally, while the news release led some to believe that it was a list of black supporters for a plan targeting black Americans, in fact at least 184 names on the list are identified in state voting records as white. And 125 other names could not be verified. Several names appeared multiple times on the list.

"I do think the way it was rolled out, it gave the impression, or the characterization, of them having broad support potentially, listing myself and others at the top of it," Thigpen told the Intercept. "But then when I know the conversations I had had, and how they used my conversation, for you to tell me there were other persons on there listed in one way, when that wasn't really how they were, would not surprise me."

And in one final blunder, the campaign used a stock image from Kenya to promote the plan.

(H/T: The Federalist)

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