Buttigieg's campaign considering copying McCain bus tour strategy

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’s (D) presidential campaign is considering replicating a bus tour strategy employed by former Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump Cindy McCain ‘disappointed’ McGrath used image of John McCain in ad attacking McConnell Report that Bush won’t support Trump reelection ‘completely made up,’ spokesman says MORE (R-Ariz.) when McCain ran for president in 2000, a Buttigieg aide told Politico.

Lis Smith, a Democratic operative and a Buttigieg aide, told Politico that she is planning to recreate McCain’s “Straight Talk Express.” McCain traveled on a campaign bus and invited reporters on the bus to ask him questions as he sought the Republican nomination in the presidential primary that was ultimately won by then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.


Smith told Politico she has been studying McCain’s strategy and contacting journalists who covered the campaign. She also said she has reached out to GOP strategist John Weaver, who helped build McCain’s strategy.

“I am a liberal Democrat, but I was so into the McCain thing. I romanticize it. I have talked to all the guys who see in the shots. I f—— love John McCain. Why do I f—— love John McCain? Because he was a badass. He was out there,” Smith said.

“He was going up against George Bush, who had $50 million and he had $4 million, and so he just decides to tear up the playbook and put himself out there. And if people like it they like it, and if they don’t they were probably never going to vote for you anyway,” Smith added. 

Buttigieg’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment to The Hill.  

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