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Feud between Pete Buttigieg and Mike Pence escalates

CNN logo CNN 4/9/2019 By Dan Merica, CNN

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The feud between Vice President Mike Pence and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg escalated on Tuesday when Karen Pence, the vice president's wife, questioned why the 2020 Democratic hopeful is targeting her husband.

Buttigieg's recent rise in the 2020 race has been anchored in a steady stream of attacks against Pence, the former Indiana governor who had a steady working relationship with the mayor during his time as the head of the state.

Buttigieg, however, has fired up Democratic audiences by attacking Pence's conservative views on the LGBTQ community. Buttigieg, who is gay, also slammed Pence during a CNN town hall last month, questioning the vice president's faith because of his work with the Trump administration.

"They've always had a great relationship," Karen Pence said on Fox News host Brian Kilmeade's radio show on Tuesday. "It's funny because I don't think the vice president does have a problem with him, but I think it's helping Pete to get some notoriety by saying that about the vice president."

The comment comes after Alyssa Farah, Pence's spokeswoman, tweeted that Pence -- as governor -- responded to the mayor's coming out in 2015 by saying he holds Buttigieg "in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot."

Peter Buttigieg, Mike Pence are posing for a picture © Don Emmert/Martin H. Simon/Getty Images Karen Pence responded to that on Tuesday.

"I'm just like, 'Pete, did you not like that,' because that's what the vice president said about him," she said. "So what's the problem with that?"

Buttigieg appeared to respond to the pushback from Pence's orbit on Tuesday, tweeting, "People will often be polite to you in person, while advancing policies that harm you and your family. You will be polite to them in turn, but you need not stand for such harms. Instead, you push back, honestly and emphatically. So it goes, in the public square."

Buttigieg, most recently, targeted Pence at a fundraiser for the LGBTQ organization Victory Fund on Sunday.

"If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade," Buttigieg said. "And that's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me -- your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

Buttigieg's comments came hours after he made critical comments about evangelical voters' support of President Donald Trump during an appearance on "Meet The Press."

"It's something that really frustrates me because the hypocrisy is unbelievable," Buttigieg said. "Here you have somebody who not only acts in a way that is not consistent with anything that I hear in scripture in church."

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