WATERLOO, Iowa — One month ago, Pete Buttigieg welcomed journalists to hours of on-the-record interviews during a bus tour through Iowa. Over the weekend in eastern Iowa, he stood in front of journalists as they repeatedly questioned him about transparency.
When a reporter in Waterloo on Friday asked the South Bend, Indiana, mayor why the candidate hadn’t opened press access to his high-dollar fundraisers, he responded: “There are a lot of considerations, and I’m thinking about it.”
Another reporter then asked Buttigieg if he could give an example of those considerations.
“No,” he said.
The full back-and-forth lasted fewer than five minutes, but Buttigieg's tone in some of his responses contrasted sharply with his typically lengthier interactions with journalists.
Buttigieg is facing new scrutiny as a top-tier Democratic presidential candidate, and it's spilling into Iowa. It was evident during his three-day swing through the first-in-the-nation caucus state, which began Friday and was scheduled to wrap up on Sunday.
On Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked Buttigieg during a presidential forum in Waterloo about a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that he signed when he worked in his 20s for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Buttigieg has provided the public a summary of his roughly two and half years there, and has called on his former employer to release him from his NDA..
"You should break the NDA," Lightfoot told Buttigieg, as Iowans watched.
Buttigieg, 37, responded: "I'm going to give them a chance to do the right thing and then we'll take it from there."
Buttigieg is also facing other questions.
At a town hall in Grinnell on Friday ahead of the Waterloo forum, he was asked about his handling of a police shooting earlier this year that involved the death of a black man by a white officer. The death is often linked to a larger discussion of Buttigieg's relationship with the police and the community in South Bend, and his low polling with African American voters in South Carolina.