Former Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t think Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is all that.
The 2020 Democratic presidential contender threw a little shade at the freshman congresswoman from New York, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that in the big picture, Ocasio-Cortez just “won a primary,” not the general election battles.
Biden made it clear in a wide-ranging CNN interview that he believes a moderate Democrat like himself will be the preferred candidate to go against President Donald Trump, not the extreme liberals currently vying to be the party’s new guard and standard-bearers.
Elections in battleground states will be won by mainstream Democrats, he contended, and not progressives pushing radical ideas like “Medicare for All,” Biden argued, noting that most Democrats are “center-left” not “way left.”
“How can you have dignity without having healthcare? How can you have dignity without having access to an education? How can you have dignity unless you can live in a neighborhood that’s not fouled by the environment and what’s going on?” Biden said to Cuomo in Des Moines, Iowa.
“How do you convince the party that these more advanced ideas, like all in on Medicare-for-All, that matter to them,” Cuomo began to ask when the Democratic frontrunner interjected that he wouldn’t call the ideas “advanced.”
“They’re popular in the party,” the CNN host countered.
“That’s what this election is about. I’m happy to debate that issue and all those issues with my friends because guess what, look who won the races. Look who won last time out,” Biden said.
“By the way, I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary,” he added. “In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education, healthcare.”
Ocasio-Cortez has risen to liberal stardom after she unseated Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District primary in 2018. After winning the general election easily in a reliably Democratic district, Ocasio-Cortez has swept into Congress and pushed a litany of progressive policies, all while garnering considerable media attention.
Biden’s comments on Ocasio-Cortez get at the heart of a debate inside the Democratic Party: While liberal icons, including a number of newly elected members, grab headlines, the party swept into the majority in the House on the backs of more moderate members who won in swing districts.
Ocasio-Cortez has frequently criticized Biden, recently calling him out on his reversal of his stand on the Hyde Amendment which bans federal funding of abortions.
EXCLUSIVE – @AOC on Joe Biden’s Hyde Amendment position: “That’s not a progressive position. And you know what? If your pride is being a moderate, centrist candidate, then go out and say that.” –@EmmaVigeland reports.
— Rebel HQ (@TYTPolitics) June 6, 2019
“If your pride is being a moderate centrist candidate, say that,” she told “The Young Turks” Rebel HQ earlier this month. “Say, ‘I’m proud to be a centrist, I’m proud to be funded by Wall Street. I’m proud to not push as hard as I can on women’s rights.’ Say it, own it, be it, but don’t come out here and say you’re a progressive candidate, but at the same time not support repealing something as basic as the Hyde Amendment.”
Before Biden announced his candidacy, Ocasio-Cortez admitted she did not have one particular candidate that she backed from the sizable group of Democratic contenders hoping to unseat President Donald Trump in 2020, but she was clear that the former vice president did not “animate” her as a prospect.
The Democrats’ infighting over the old guard versus the new was on full display during the first primary debates as California Rep. Eric Swalwell seemed to slam call Biden for being too old to be president.
Dem debate turns into young vs. old ‘food fight’ after Swalwell tells Biden to ‘pass the torch’ to younger candidates https://t.co/BeI1kkoSBP
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 28, 2019
But the 76-year-old former senator is sure he has the winning ticket when it comes to appealing to the middle class.
“Look, my north star is the middle class,” he told Cuomo. “When the middle class does well, everybody does well.”
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