The Daily Caller recently reported on a humorous conversation between the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman and a CNN news anchor who was trying to get a straight answer about whether she felt that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was “good for the Democratic caucus.”
Although the chairwoman was asked the question 4 times, quite deliberately as a matter of fact, she refused to answer and simply gave safe political answers.
Could this signal trouble within the Democratic Party?
A top House Democrat repeatedly declined to say Sunday morning whether Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is good for the Democratic caucus.
A news anchor asked Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), four times on CNN whether Ocasio-Cortez was “good for the Democratic caucus.” She declined to give a “yes” or “no” answer each time.
Ocasio-Cortez is currently feuding with the DCCC over her refusal to pay $250,000 in fundraising dues to the committee, which aims to help Democrats in House races across the country.
It’s no surprise that AOC refuses to play by anyone’s rules but her own, but her current status within the Democratic Party seems shaky lately.
And why wouldn’t Bustos just answer the question?
Is she being pressured not to give her own opinions now?
You can see her question-dodging below:
“Is she good for the Democratic caucus in the House?” CNN host Victor Blackwell asked Bustos, who proceeded to dodge the question.
“She has a lot of followers. I have respect for her,” Bustos said.
“She brings a new voice to Congress,” she said, before Blackwell repeated the question. Once again, Bustos did not give a straight answer.
“Look, we’ve got members from all different spectrums. I respect her and she brings a new voice, and I think that’s always welcome,” Bustos said.
“It’s interesting, I have the chairwoman of the DCCC whose job it is to support incumbents and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is one. I’m asking you just a straightforward question: Is she good for the Democratic caucus in the House?” Blackwell asked again.
“Look, she brings a voice. We have members from all different spectrums of the Democratic Party,” Bustos said.
“Look, I come from a district that [President] Donald Trump won. My politics are somewhat different than hers, but she brings a voice that’s welcome,” she added. “And I have great appreciation for that.”
Blackwell said: “She raised more money in the third quarter of 2019 than any other Democrat in the House, including the speaker of the House. She has given, as she counts, $300,000 to other incumbents, including some in swing districts, and I’m asking the chairwoman of the DCCC if this member, who is right now in the top 10 of House members raising money, if she’s good for the caucus.”
“You can’t give me a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’?” Blackwell pressed.
“Look, I have respect for all 235 of the Democrats in our caucus. She is bringing a new voice,” Bustos said, adding:
“The fact that she has raised unbelievable amounts of money and the fact that she just announced that she’s willing to help our candidates who need — who could benefit with that financial help — that’s welcome. And, look, you’re asking a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. I’m a former reporter, Victor, so I understand what you’re trying to get at.”
“I have respect for her, I welcome her into our delegation and I’m very happy that she’s willing to help our candidates,” Bustos said, concluding the interview without giving a straight answer to the question.
So why would Bustos be giving niceties to AOC at this point, especially given how vehemently she has attacked her in the past?
It was no secret when Bustos was going after AOC for attacking vulnerable democratic incumbents- her tactics were so strong, in fact, that she was praised for it.
“We don’t have time for games, we don’t have time for hugs and kisses,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in an interview, praising Bustos for taking a hard line to protect the party’s incumbents ahead of a difficult 2020 campaign.
The episode underscores Bustos’ approach to the job as DCCC chairwoman amid an ideological clash that has defined the early months of the new Democratic majority. She is the first line of defense in Democrat’s battle to hold onto the House, tasked with protecting more than two dozen seats in districts won by President Donald Trump, including her own.
Her sometimes blunt attitude is a dramatic departure from previous DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, who is known on Capitol Hill for being non-confrontational and eager to please.
So why is Bustos now giving “hugs and kisses” to AOC on CNN?
And is anybody actually buying it?