After the program, Joe Scarborough tweeted that he and co-host Mika Brzezinski had been «overwhelmed by the reaction» they received about Buttigieg’s appearance.
«The only other time in twelve years that we heard from as many people about a guest was after @BarackObama appeared on Morning Joe,» he wrote.
Among the topics they discussed: Buttigieg’s ability to speak seven languages other than English. Among them Norweigan, which he taught himself in order to read more books by an author whose books he loved.
This followed a well-received CNN town hall earlier this month which saw him raise $US600,000 in a day.
Among his memorable lines was attacking Vice-President Mike Pence, a conservative Christian, as the «cheerleader of the porn-star presidency».
«I have rarely seen a candidate make better use of televised Town Hall than @PeteButtigieg is on @CNN tonight,» former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod said on Twitter. «Crisp, thoughtful and relatable. He’ll be a little less of a long shot tomorrow.»
Buttigieg is a Rhodes scholar, military veteran, practising Christian and the first openly gay man to run for president. His husband, Chasten, has already developed his own cult following on Twitter for his adoring tweets about Buttigieg.
Buttigieg’s policy positions are progressive — single-payer healthcare, ambitious action on climate change and abolishing the electoral college — but his style is calm and moderate.
To be sure, «Mayor Peter», as he has become known, does not have the huge name recognition of Joe Biden or the fundraising ability of Beto O’Rourke or the devoted following of Bernie Sanders. And only one mayor has ever been elected US president.
But Buttigieg will be a candidate worth watching when the primaries officially begin next year.
Matthew Knott is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age based in the United States.