Democratic Party presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton stumbled during a question-answer session on MSNBC when host Chris Matthews posed a query that’s now become common food for thought among political watchers and pressed her to explain the difference between a Democrat and a socialist.
“I want to help you tonight, for this audience … locate yourself politically in this country,” Matthews said. “Now we have [Donald] Trump out there and we have Bernie [Sanders] out here and Bernie calls himself a socialist … he loves that label.”
Matthews then characterized Clinton as a “pretty typical Democrat,” but asked: “What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? Is that a question you want to answer, or you’d rather not?”
Clinton stutter-stepped for a bit.
“You’d have to ask [Sanders],” Clinton said before being interrupted.
Matthews jumped in: “You see, I’m asking you. You’re a Democrat. [Bernie’s] a socialist. Would you like somebody to call you a socialist? I wouldn’t like somebody calling me a socialist.”
Clinton cut in: “But I’m not one. I’m not one.”
And again, Matthews tried: “OK, what’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat?”
Clinton then found her political footing.
“I’ll tell you what I am,” she said. “I am a progressive Democrat. I’m a progressive Democrat who likes to get things done and who believes that we are better off in this country when we’re trying to solve problems together. Getting people to work together. There will always be strong feelings and I respect that from you know, the far right, the far left, the libertarians, whoever it might be. We need to get people working together. We gotta get the economy fixed, we gotta get all of our problems really tackled and that’s what I want to do.”
Matthews wrapped by remarking how Democratic National Committee chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz “wouldn’t answer either” the same question posed to her in a July 2015 interview.
Then, he asked her: “What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? I used to think there is a big difference. What do you think it is? A Democrat like Hillary and a socialist like Bernie Sanders.”
Wasserman Schultz couldn’t answer and instead tried to redirect the interview to discuss the differences between a Democrat and a Republican.