The chairwoman of the Democratic Party has ducked a question from MSNBC about the difference between a socialist and a Democrat.
The awkward moment on live TV happened when MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews asked Debbie Wasserman Schultz about the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist who is running for president as a Democrat.
He’s been surging up the polls recently, even as the numbers for presumptive Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton have faltered.
“What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?” asks Matthews.
In the end, Wasserman Schultz is unwilling to offer an answer, only saying that the bigger issue is the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.
Matthews asked, “Do you want to see Bernie Sanders speak at the Democrat National Convention? Do you want to have him up there as a socialist representing the Democratic Party?”
“Bernie Sanders has been a good Democrat. He caucuses with the Democrats. Of course he should speak,” she said.
When Matthews presses about whether the speech should be in prime time or when nobody is listening, she waffles.
“I don’t know what time he should speak,” she said. “The progressive populist message that he has that resonates deeply and widely with the American people, not just with Democrats, absolutely should be featured,” she aid.
Matthews then leaves her struggling for words.
“What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist. I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think it is?”
Wasserman Schultz laughs nervously. Then she moves on to “uhm.”
“The difference between … the real question is what’s the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican,” she finally explains.
And she sticks to her response.
“You’re the chairman of the Democrat Party,” Matthews pressed. “Tell me the difference between you and a socialist.”
“The relevant debate that we’ll be having over the course of this campaign is the difference between a Democrat and a Republican,” she insisted.
See the exchange: