Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Sunday doubled down on her position that Sen. Bernie Sanders, her self-described Democratic socialist rival, would hurt the party if he becomes the nominee.
“I am not a pundit, but what I do know (is this), I am the only one on the debate stage when asked, ‘Do you have a problem with a socialist leading the Democratic ticket?’ … (that said) ‘Yes.’ And that is despite the fact that Bernie and I are friends, we came in together,” the Minnesota senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“Here in Nevada, as you were just talking about earlier in the show, we don’t want to kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years, which is what Bernie’s bill would do,” she added. “People are much more pragmatic. They want plans and not pipe dreams. I am the candidate that brings that and I think that’s why we are surging across the country.”
The comments from Klobuchar come as she continues to ramp up her attacks on her rivals following a much stronger than expected third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary last week and a strong debate performance earlier this month.
When the candidates at the debate were asked if they were concerned about “having a Democratic socialist on the top of the ticket,” Klobuchar was the only one to raise her hand, clearly casting doubt on Sanders, who has previously described himself as such.
“But I think we are not going to be able to out-divide the divider-in-chief,” she said during the debate. “I think we need someone to head up this ticket that actually brings people with her, instead of shutting them out.”
On Sunday, Klobuchar was asked about comments made by Rep. Dean Phillips, a freshman Democrat from a swing district in Minnesota, who told CNN last week that Sanders could have a disastrous impact on down-ticket races for Democrats.
Phillips, who supports Klobuchar, said that “there are probably 25-30 seats that absolutely would be impacted directly by having a self-avowed socialist at the top of the ticket.”
“I’m the one with the track record, as Dean Philips knows … that brings people with me, that wins in the reddest of red rural areas, as well as suburban areas, that flips the statehouse every single time. I’m the only one on that debate stage that has done it,” Klobuchar said, adding: “Of course we need to keep the House.”
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.