“The fact is that the U.S. economy — and there are some troubles — but it still, by historical standards, pretty strong,” said anchor Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” this morning.
There are “historically low levels of unemployment,” Wallace also said by way of early remarks during the interview. “GDP growth [has been] not quite the 3 percent the president promised, but [it’s] still OK. Haven’t the president’s policies … haven’t [his] policies of tax cuts and especially deregulation been effective?”
“I don’t think so, Chris,” replied the senator. “I look back to the downturn and how we got out of that. That was our workers. That’s been effective. They’ve worked really hard — and our businesses that got us out of that downturn and got us to a better place right now of some stability. But what a great leader does, and, you know — there’s this old Ojibwe saying that you make decisions not just for this generation but for seven generations from now,” she added. “In this case, we have a president that can’t even keep his decisions seven minutes from now.”
“And so what a great leader does is rise to the challenges of our time,” added Klobuchar. “We know what they are — Republicans, independents, Democrats. I think people know. You can’t keep escalating this debt like he has. We just found out that over a trillion dollars — we’re going to reach in the deficit by 2020. That’s a big problem.”
The American people are tired of the President’s whining — we need a president who leads. I have a track record of bringing together Democrats, Independents and Republicans to get things done — and that's what we need to do to win. pic.twitter.com/ju9DlGSpY4
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) August 25, 2019
Wallace said to her, in part, “But [former President] Barack Obama had made a huge — and I understand part of it was out of a recession — but Barack Obama added more to the debt than anybody in history.”
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“But, Chris, look at where we are now,” the senator responded, essentially ignoring his comment. “[It’s] a different situation. We’re in a stable time in the economy. We hope we stay there.”
“And that is when you work on these challenges,” she added, such as “climate change, immigration reform. We know we need workers in our hospitals, in our nursing homes, in our fields, in our factories, starting small businesses. This has been America. And so what bothers me is when you look at any of these long-term problems and goals and things we have to get done, he’s not doing them.”
She commented that she had just traveled to Iowa. “You know, [there were] soybeans mounting up in bins. You’ve got pork at its lowest export level in nine years. And so go back to the negotiating table, let the Federal Reserve be independent. Start pushing on these long-term challenges that I just mentioned, as well as infrastructure, long-term care. You’ve got doubling of the senior population coming up … And they’re still relitigating the Affordable Care Act instead of dealing with that and Alzheimer’s … I just think we need to start looking to the future and dealing with those challenges.”
Wallace held her feet to the fire.
“Let’s talk about the immediate future in politics — and let’s talk about where you stand in the Democratic race right now,” he said. “In the latest national polls, you’re 11th, in the Real Clear Politics average, with 1.2 percent. In Iowa, you’re 6th, at 3.5 percent. And in New Hampshire, you’re tied for 7th at 2 percent. Now, three candidates dropped out of the race this week [former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts]. You are going to be on the debate stage next month,” Wallace added, referring to the third Democratic primary debate, to be held in Houston at the end of September.
“But what’s the threshold for you? At what point does this not make sense?” he said.
“Oh, this makes perfect sense to me, Chris,” the senator responded, “and that is because I’ve always known that I wasn’t going to jump to the front of this pile right away. There’s 20-some people. I look at it this way. I’ve made the playoffs, all right? And I’ve done that coming from a position of a state that’s a little — [that’s] not as big as some of the other ones. And coming from a position where my whole focus from the very beginning, when I announced in the middle of that blizzard on an island in the Mississippi River, was to bridge the river of our divides, to get to a higher plane in our politics. And I have won with moderates and I have won in rural and I have won … even with a bunch of Republicans, as well as liberals.”
“And I do that,” Klobuchar added, “by bringing people together. And day in and day out I have heard from people out there, that’s what they want right now. They don’t want a whiner in the White House. They are tired of hearing the president whining every day when they are struggling to make ends meet … They want a leader. A leader should lead.”
Wallace grilled her about her position among the candidates: “You talk about being a moderate — and you are running in the moderate lane … You support a public option [on health care], but not Medicare for All. You call the Green New Deal aspirational. And you oppose decriminalizing illegal border crossings. Joe Biden is also in that [moderate] lane and he’s leading, beating you in that lane, at this point. You say that you are — and you use this phrase — a candidate for our times, which may be a nice way of dealing with the age issue.”
He added, “I want to ask you something honestly … Do you have concerns, as you see the gaffes by Joe Biden mounting up, day by day, week by week? Do you have concerns as to whether or not he is up to taking the fight over the next year-and-a-half to Donald Trump?”
Klobuchar dodged it.
“I’m focused on my own campaign, Chris,” she replied. “I’ve made that very clear, and [am] taking it to Donald Trump myself. I have strong arguments that I am the candidate to do this. I am from the Midwest. As you know, Democrats had trouble winning the Midwest in 2016. But we can do it. I can lead the ticket because I’ve got an optimistic economic agenda for this country. And I know people are looking for something else. And I can lead because I have a proven track record of bringing in independents and moderate Republicans and Democrats.”
“This isn’t just about this campaign,” she added. “I am not running for chair of the Democratic National Committee. I am running for president of the United States. And if you want to lead, you’ve got to run a campaign that’s going to show people how you’re going to govern.”
“I have strong arguments that I am the candidate to do this. I am from the Midwest,” said Klobuchar.
“Finally,” put in Wallace, “I want to ask you about [Rep.] Ilhan Omar, the [Democratic] congresswoman, who’s a member of the Minnesota delegation. You talked before about the president stoking divisions. You’ve called the president’s comments about her, quote, ‘racist and reprehensible,’ but what about Omar’s statements, one of which, I want to play, one of which she made just this week.”
Wallace then played a clip of Omar’s comments, in which she said, “We give Israel more than $3 [billion] in aid every year. This is predicated on there being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Added Wallace, “Now, you couldn’t see it, because you can’t see our feed, but when she said ‘the only democracy’ — she did it in air quotes. Are you troubled by Congresswoman Omar questioning whether or not Israel is a democracy, and earlier saying that — [in] explaining American politicians’ support for Israel as, quote, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins, baby?’ You talk about the president and his divisiveness,” Wallace also said. “Are you prepared to call out Congresswoman Omar?”
“I have. I don’t agree with her on her positions on Israel and I certainly don’t agree with [her] anti-Semitic comment[s]. All of that being said … I thought this decision by the president to say that elected members of Congress who were duly elected shouldn’t go to visit Israel, that they shouldn’t be allowed in that country — which is our ally, and, yes, a beacon of democracy in a really tough neighborhood in the Mideast — I think that was wrong.”
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