Buttigieg mulls Biden endorsement

Former Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Iowa State Education Association Candidate Forum, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(CNN) — Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is weighing whether to endorse Joe Biden after exiting the Democratic presidential race late Sunday night and later speaking on the phone with the former vice president and former President Barack Obama.

An endorsement for Biden is likely, two people close to Buttigieg say, but whether he makes the decision before Super Tuesday is unclear.

Buttigieg spoke to Biden by phone after delivering his concession speech, two people familiar with the conversation said. Biden congratulated Buttigieg on his campaign and asked for his endorsement. Buttigieg did not make an immediate decision, telling advisers after the call that he wanted to think about it overnight.

Buttigieg also spoke with Obama late Sunday, according to two people familiar with the conversation. The former president praised Buttigieg on his campaign and his decision to leave the race, noting how difficult it is to disappoint supporters and admirers. Obama also told Buttigieg he ran a historic campaign to be proud of.

The former President made clear the decision on whether to endorse a candidate is Buttigieg’s alone to make, two people familiar with the call say. The two discussed the leverage that Buttigieg has now — and how he could be most helpful in shaping the race.

The New York Times was first to report the calls.

Buttigieg suspended his presidential campaign Sunday night in South Bend after he struggled to compete in South Carolina’s primary.

Speaking to supporters Sunday, the former mayor said, “I know that as this campaign ends, there comes disappointment that we won’t continue.”

“But I hope that everyone who has been part of this in any way knows that the campaign that you have built and the community that you have created is only the beginning of the change that we are going to make together,” he said.