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(INDIANAPOLIS) – South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign has been held back by an Achilles’ heel: near-zero support from African-American voters. The Democratic hopeful was in Indianapolis on Friday to address the issue head-on.

Buttigieg was the keynote speaker for the NAACP’s Freedom Fund banquet. The mayor chalks up his low support with African-Americans to Joe Biden’s high support not leaving much to go around for the other candidates. He predicts that will change as voters begin to look at candidates with lower name recognition, and says his campaign is making an effort to “reach out to [minority&#93 voters where they are,” something he says hasn’t always happened. 

Buttigieg argues President Trump’s frequent boasts about record low unemployment among minorities don’t tell the whole story. He says life expectancy has shortened among minorities even as the economy has grown, and says racial dvides on income and wealth are growing wider. He charges Trump has shown no interest in addressing those issues.

Like nearly all of the Democratic presidential field, Buttigieg supports President Trump’s impeachment. But his campaign is making an unusual boast about how he’s done so, proudly tweeting a link to an online news story tallying 44 impeachment-related emails from 11 of his 17 rivals — but none from him. Buttigieg says he’s trying to stay true to the principle that impeachment shouldn’t be a partisan issue, even though he concedes it’s played out that way so far. He says he hopes Republicans “are reunited with their consciences.”

Buttigieg says Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree thatTrump’s own words this week, calling on Ukraine and China to launch investigations of Biden, represent “abuse of power of the highest order.” But he says it’s doubtful the Republican Senate will remove Trump from office, so the Democratic candidates should focus on defeating Trump next November.

More than a third of the impeachment emails are from California billionaire Tom Steyer, who’s made impeachment his central issue, even before he launched his campaign. But still counts an average of three impeachment-related emails from the other 10 candidates analyzed, many of them linked to fundraising appeals.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)