Pete goes Pure Michigan- POLITICO


Welcome to POLITICO’s West Wing Playbook, your guide to the people and power centers in the Biden administration. With help from Allie Bice. 

Send tips“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”mailto:[email protected]”,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0001″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0002″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Send tips | Subscribe here “,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0003″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0004″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Subscribe here | Email Alex“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”mailto:[email protected]”,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0005″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0006″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Email Alex | Email Max“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”mailto:[email protected]”,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0007″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0008″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Email Max 

The shortest way home“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”″,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0009″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa000a”,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>shortest way home for PETE BUTTIGIEG now is a flight to Michigan.

The Transportation secretary and former South Bend mayor has changed his residency from Indiana to the Wolverine State, where he plans to vote this fall, a spokesperson confirmed.

Buttigieg’s move was for family reasons, specifically, his husband’s family, a Department of Transportation spokesperson said. “Moving to Chasten’s hometown of Traverse City allowed them to be closer to his parents, which became especially important to them after they adopted their twins, often relying on Chasten’s parents for help with child care,” the person said.

But the move also has another significant benefit. With two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor, Michigan is a much more hospitable state for a fellow Democrat with political ambitions. It’s also in the running to replace Iowa as the first presidential nominating contest. Buttigieg has been grip-and-grinning the state’s politicos as well, visiting the annual Mackinac Policy Conference in recent weeks.

Regardless of his motivations, Buttigieg and his allies have made a number of moves that better position the secretary for his political future.

This month his former political action committee, Win The Era, began the process of endorsing and giving resources to candidates for the midterms. The PAC’s executive director organized a campaign reunion with Buttigieg and former staffers in March at metrobar in Washington. “The Secretary attended the event in his personal capacity,” a Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson said. While Buttigieg stepped down from the PAC when he joined the administration, it has the email list and other assets that he’d likely carry into any future campaign.

Buttigieg also attended a Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ gala in New York City last Monday. Afterward, he and husband Chasten grabbed drinks with one of his 2020 campaign’s top political aides, LIS SMITH, and Michigan state Sen. MALLORY McMORROW, who has emerged as an up-and-coming party star.

The White House said it had asked Buttigieg to attend the DNC events.

One of Buttigieg’s top campaign officials, MICHAEL HALLE, is now a senior adviser at DOT. The secretary also joined the Rev. JESSE JACKSON for the 56th annual international convention of his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Buttigieg has embraced the administration’s focus on equity and has made an effort to build more bridges with Black communities – an effort where the administration’s priorities also overlap with a political liability for Buttigieg.

At times, however, Buttigieg’s eye on the future has created complications for his day job.

When Buttigieg visited New York in March, he stopped by the Transit Tech Career and Technical High School in Brooklyn, but did not alert or allow members of the transit press corps to attend. The appearance was covered exclusively by BET Online“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa000b”,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa000c”,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>The appearance was covered exclusively by BET Online.

While the secretary got positive coverage, it annoyed some members of the transit press who felt that Buttigieg’s visit to the country’s biggest transportation market should’ve been open to all media.

“Secretary Buttigieg visited Transit Tech High School in New York City – which is largely made up of Black students and students of color who are learning about careers in public transit,” said a DOT spokesperson. “BET was an ideal partner to reach the students and young people that we wanted to reach.” A DOT spokesperson noted that the department regularly gives exclusives to national news outlets on site visits and inspections of major infrastructure.

Buttigieg has had the enviable political opportunity of rolling out parts of the infrastructure package — which has allowed him to grow his presence on national and local television and make allies with fellow Democrats. In the final days of June, for example, he traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to announce a $1 billion pilot program intended to reconnect communities and funded from the bipartisan infrastructure law. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) appeared with Buttigieg, and the pair had shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles with him afterward.

“I think Secretary Buttigieg really has a unique perspective,” Sewell, who noted Buttigieg’s local experience, told West Wing Playbook.

But Buttigieg’s political ambitions will be complicated by the recent crises over supply chains and recent air travel. Over 1,400 flights were canceled over the July 4th weekend, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa000d”,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa000e”,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”> according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. Buttigieg has had at least one of his own flights canceled. As the airline cancellations grew messier last month, the secretary took a weeklong summer vacation.

Buttigieg is also now caught in a cycle of finger-pointing. Airline interest groups are blaming the Federal Aviation Administration“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa000f”,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0010″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Airline interest groups are blaming the Federal Aviation Administration, Buttigieg argues that the airlines should be doing better after receiving billions of dollars during the pandemic, and progressives like Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) are pushing Buttigieg to impose large fines “,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0011″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0012″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>progressives like Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) are pushing Buttigieg to impose large fines on the airlines for the delays.

Despite all the moves, Buttigieg confidants are quick to play down the idea he’s using his DOT position as part of a shadow campaign.

“If that’s what he was doing, he’d be running a shit shadow campaign,” HARI SEVUGAN, Buttigieg’s former deputy campaign manager, told West Wing Playbook. “He’s touring Alabama media markets and is tweeting about airline mile reimbursements. Not high on the list of plays you’d call if you want to run as the Dem nominee.”

TEXT US — Are you LYNDA TRAN, the director of public engagement and senior advisor at DOT? We want to hear from you! And we’ll keep you anonymous if you’d like.

Or if you think we missed something in today’s edition, let us know and we may include it tomorrow. Email us at [email protected]“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”mailto:[email protected]”,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0013″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492fa0014″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>[email protected] or you can text/Signal/Wickr Alex at 8183240098.

During which presidential administration did the first White House website go live?

(Answer at the bottom)

SCOOP: PATRICK STAUFFER, the White House’s director of finance, is headed to the Democratic National Committee to become its new chief financial officer, a person familiar with the move tells us. Stauffer was the deputy chief finance officer for Biden during the general election and worked for Buttigieg during the 2020 primary.

Stauffer follows top Biden aide CEDRIC RICHMOND, who also recently left the White House ahead of the president’s plan to run for re-election.

SPOTTED: With its pomp and celebrity, Medal of Freedom ceremonies tend to attract a high-profile Washington crowd, and Thursday’s gathering to mark the highest civilian honor was no exception. Unfortunately, West Wing Playbook dispatched its shorter author to observe the ceremony, but your favorite daily White House newsletter was still able to spot several Cabinet secretaries in attendance, including Secretary of Health and Human Services XAVIER BECERRA, Labor Secretary MARTY WALSH, and Secretary of Education MIGUEL CARDONA. Rep. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-Fla.) sat next to Rep. LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyo.) in the front row, while former Sen. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-Conn.) chatted with HUNTER BIDEN before the ceremony.

Journalist ROLAND MARTIN was relegated to the back of the press area, but he was one of the most popular people at the event. West Wing Playbook observed a seemingly endless stream of current and former elected officials like former Sen. DOUG JONES (D-Ala.) and Montgomery, Ala., Mayor STEVE JONES who visited before and after the ceremony to pay their respects to the broadcaster and political analyst.

*EYES EMOJI*: VP KAMALA HARRIS is sitting down with CBS News’ ROBERT COSTA tomorrow that will air on tomorrow’s CBS Evening News and Sunday on Face the Nation.

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE WANTS YOU TO READ: This statistic from GasBuddy that 2,535 stations across the country had prices of $3.99 a gallon or less on Thursday, according to analyst PATRICK DE HAAN. White House Chief of Staff RON KLAIN retweeted a retweet from journalist CARL QUINTANILLA about the stat“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>retweeted a retweet from journalist CARL QUINTANILLA about the stat. Quintanilla wrote: “Keep an eye out for ALL the headlines about sub-$4 gasoline. (wink, wink).”

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO READ: This Bloomberg story by JOE DEAUX and NAUREEN S MALIK on the toll of high energy prices“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0002″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0003″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>This Bloomberg story by JOE DEAUX and NAUREEN S MALIK on the toll of high energy prices.On June 22, 600 workers at the second-largest aluminum mill in America, accounting for 20 percent of U.S. supply, learned they were losing their jobs because the plant can’t afford an electricity tab that’s tripled in a matter of months,” they report.

The real bad news: “By the beginning of June, natural gas prices had tripled what they were a year earlier, threatening households and businesses alike with some of the biggest utility bills they’ve ever seen. This summer, electricity rates for industrial customers are set to hit“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0004″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0005″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>hit their highest levels ever, based on US government forecasts.”

BESHEAR BRAWL: The Democratic governor of Kentucky, ANDY BESHEAR, is out of patience with the White House and saying so publicly because of Biden’s previous plans to nominate a conservative anti-abortion rights attorney to a federal judicial post. Those plans were put on hold after the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe and the White House has been no-commenting ever since.

“It’s been plenty of time,” Beshear told reporters today. “And by now, they should be telling us that it’s going to be rescinded.” Missed what’s going on? Louisville Courier Journal’s JOE SONKA has been all over it. “,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0006″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff0007″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Louisville Courier Journal’s JOE SONKA has been all over it. 

AHEAD OF THE TRIP: President of Israel ISAAC HERZOG will award Biden with the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor “to thank him for being a true friend of Israel,” he wrote on Twitter Thursday“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”″,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff000a”,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb492ff000b”,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>he wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Grateful for his decades-long support for Israel’s security, deepening our alliance & fighting antisemitism.” The move comes ahead of Biden’s visit to the Mideast next week.

ALL IN THE MESSAGING: Many progressives, including some within the Biden administration, are frustrated with the president’s “laser focus” messaging war on inflation“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”″,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493010000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493010001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>are frustrated with the president’s “laser focus” messaging war on inflation. They worry the administration’s support of the Federal Reserve’s work could actually backfire and halt economic growth, our BEN WHITE reports. Some also fear the messaging undercuts some of the White House’s latest wins: a strong labor market, solid wage gains and ambitious spending

PODCAST FIGHTS: HEATHER BOUSHEY of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers got in a bit of a spat with Bloomberg’s TOM KEENE on the Bloomberg Surveillance podcast today over inflation and gas prices“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493010004″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493010005″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>on the Bloomberg Surveillance podcast today over inflation and gas prices.

“Who is advising the president on shockingly naive price theory over a gallon of gas?” Keene said.

“So the president is not shockingly naive,” Boushey said.

U.S. Secret Service director James Murray leaving agency“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493030002″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493030003″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>U.S. Secret Service director James Murray leaving agency (WaPo’s Nick Miroff)

U.S. Small-Business Programs’ Future Is Clouded by Congressional Fight“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”″,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493030005″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493030006″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>U.S. Small-Business Programs’ Future Is Clouded by Congressional Fight (WSJ’s Kate O’Keeffe)

FAA to give airports $1 billion for terminals and upgrades“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493030007″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493030008″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>FAA to give airports $1 billion for terminals and upgrades (AP)

President Biden Is Not Cutting the Mustard“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493030009″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb49303000a”,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>President Biden Is Not Cutting the Mustard (The American Prospect’s Ryan Cooper)

The Rev. AL SHARPTON’s press conference in Chicago at 4 p.m. C.T. on Friday with CHERELLE GRINER and WNBPA executives.

Director of the White House’s National Economic Council BRIAN DEESE will sit down with the New York Times’ CECILIA KANG at the Aspen Institute’s D.C. office on July 14 at 3 p.m. E.T.

The first White House website went live in 1994 under the Clinton administration.

The internet was still such a new phenomenon that when it launched, CNN anchor MILES O’BRIEN announced the site’s launch like this: “For those of you brave enough to spend time sitting in front of electronic devices, there’s a new place to check out on the cyber scene.” WaPo’s ELAHE IZADI has more details on the first White House website“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493070000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493070001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>WaPo’s ELAHE IZADI has more details on the first White House website.

The National Archives website also has each version of the White House websites launched during the Clinton Administration“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”″,”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493070002″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-dbb4-da3b-abf7-fbb493070003″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>The National Archives website also has each version of the White House websites launched during the Clinton Administration. We highly recommend taking a look at each one.

A CALL OUT — Think you have a more difficult trivia question? Send us your best on the presidents with a citation and we may feature it.

Edited by Eun Kyung Kim and Sam Stein.

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