CNN's State of the Union panel laughed Sunday after host Jake Tapper showed clips of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claiming to one campaign audience that she was a solid progressive and to another that she was a centrist.
"I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values," Clinton said July 3 in New Hampshire. Then, Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, she said, "You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty."
"So … kind of a mixed message?" Tapper asked after a brief pause. "You think?" Republican strategist Ana Navarro said to laughter from the rest of the panel.
Navarro said Clinton came across as "so poll-tested" and said there was a "lethal" contrast with Vice President Joe Biden, who was widely praised this week after a wrenching interview with Stephen Colbert addressing his grief over his late son Beau. Biden is considering entering the race for the Democratic nomination.
"You've got a Hillary Clinton making a really forced attempt at learning how to nae-nae [on The Ellen DeGeneres Show] and show humor … It is not a good contrast because they seem not to understand that authenticity and spontaneity, it can't be planned or scripted," she said.
Former Obama White House official Van Jones said if Clinton really was the centrist Democrat she claimed to be, then she should start acting like it and draw clear contrasts between herself and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who leads her in polling in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"If she's a moderate, be a moderate," Jones said. "Tell Bernie Sanders where he's wrong. Stick up for what she believes in, and I think that will work better for her. I think she just needs to become who she truly is."