Klobuchar Pitches Herself as Pragmatic Alternative to Progressive Dems
Health Care

Klobuchar Pitches Herself as Pragmatic Alternative to Progressive Dems


In a CNN town hall in New Hampshire Monday night, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) drew some clear distinctions between herself and some of the most progressive Democratic presidential candidates in the 2020 race.

  • She called the Green New Deal “aspirational.”

  • She said that “Medicare for all” is “could be a possibility in the future. I'm just looking for something that will work now." She favors improving the Affordable Care Act, adding and public option, and expanding Medicare and Medicaid.

  • She said she is not for Sen. Bernie Sanders plan for free four-year college for all, citing the growing national debt to argue that the country can’t afford it. “If I was a magic genie, and could give that for everyone, and we could afford it, I would,” she said in response to a recent college graduate’s question. “I’ve got to tell the truth. We have a mounting debt that the Trump administration keeps getting worse and worse.  I also don't want to leave that on the shoulders of all these kids.”

Her answer on free college didn’t impress the young activist who asked about it. “We don’t need a genie to end the student debt crisis, we need a president who isn’t afraid to tax wall street and the 1 percent to fund critical programs like free college for all,” he told The Hill.

But the response drew applause from others in the audience — and her townhall drew plaudits from some in the political press.

  • “Sen. Amy Klobuchar seems willing to say one word that often goes unspoken by presidential candidates eager to win over voters: No,” CNN’s Jeff Zeleny writes. “With her presidential campaign only eight days old, Klobuchar is testing the balance between pragmatism and purity, while resisting the urge to pander to the party's progressive wing.”
  • “Her stances appear to be rooted in acknowledging a Democratic electorate interested in big ideas but recognizing some proposals might be too radical to win over independents who backed Trump in 2016,” Eugene Scott writes at The Washington Post.
  • “Klobuchar might be aiming a bit low on health care, as far as some Democrats are concerned,” says Slate’s Jordan Weissmann. “But they should give her credit: At least she’s telling them enough to know where she stands.”