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Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Speaks At Northeastern

BOSTON (CBS) -- The auditorium at Northeastern University was at capacity. It was filled with millennials, excited to see one of their own on this stage, not only here, but nationwide.

"I think the younger the better, I think we really need that representation in the highest office," MaryKate Murphy, a sophomore at the university said.

Every one of the 992 seats of Northeastern's Blackman Auditorium was taken. All there to hear from the mayor of South Bend Indiana and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

"And it makes so much sense because by definition the longer you plan to be here the more you have at stake in the decisions that are being made right now," Buttigieg said.

The 37-year-old candidate, was happy to join the university's discussion about millennials in politics. "I don't remember the last politician that impressed me that much," added Milton Posner, a sophomore at the university.

Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg at Northeastern University (WBZ-TV)

Some of the major moments included his take on how the country's democracy works. "The Electoral College is a dumb idea," Buttigieg said. Buttigieg explained why the system needs work.

"The politicians actually choose their voters rather than voters choosing their politicians ... in a very naked transparent way that election is rigged and what could be less inspiring when you're deciding to vote in an election that to find out the election is rigged," he added.

"He did a really good job answering some of the hard ones," Emerson Toomey, a freshman at the university said.

Another highlight, a very tough question to answer, whether or not college tuition should be waived.

"I know it's not the most popular answer but hopefully it can be viewed as a reasonable one," he answered.

Pete Buttigieg
Students at Northeastern University wait to ask Pete Buttigieg a question (WBZ-TV)

The mayor went on to say expecting people to pay zero may exceed what is reasonable. A number that is undeniable though, his campaign has raised over $7 million in the first quarter of 2019.

"I think it's going to be a long shot for him for sure but his trajectory is really, really positive so in the age of politics a year is a very long time so I hope it keeps going up, up, up and boom and more people will know about him and maybe we will see him as a presidential candidate," Mahmoud Ashour said.

WBZ's Jon Keller says it's still too early to tell which candidates will stick. "It's way, way too early to be determining whether he's for real or not, it's too early to determine whether anyone is really for real," he explained.

Too soon or not, the crowd walked out of Wednesday's discussion feeling hopeful.

"It's also very cool to see how he can appeal to so many people so many constituencies he doesn't see so much divisive rhetoric that we see it was really refreshing," Jared Hirschfield, a junior at the university explained.

Buttigieg also spoke about his time as a veteran. He got back from Afghanistan in 2014. He was also asked questions about running as an openly gay candidate. He said he hopes it becomes easier and easier for people to come out and be themselves.

Whether people know him or not yet, these millennials at Northeastern feel Mayor Pete, is one to watch.

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