After Refusing to Call Himself a Capitalist, Hickenlooper Now 'Happy' to Have the Label

March 10, 2019

Former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper now says he is "happy" to call himself a capitalist after refusing to refer to himself by that label earlier in the week.

"Why are you uncomfortable calling yourself a proud capitalist?" Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan asked Hickenlooper on Sunday.

"The point I was making is that we define people by these labels that often have all kinds of associations and baggage with them in that sense," Hickenlooper responded. "Do I believe in small business? Of course I believe in small business. I've started probably more than 20 different small businesses. I'd have, you know, in one year I'd have over one million customers. I understand that, but what's happening, I think it's a silly question. We should be looking at some of the reasons behind why we have less and less start-ups. We should look at some of the reasons why more and more people aren't wanting to start a business."

"Sure, but you understand it's a main Republican talking point to label Democrats right now as anti-business socialists," Brennan noted.

"Right. That's ridiculous," Hickenlooper said.

"So you reject that label?" Brennan asked.

Hickenlooper was still reluctant to call himself a capitalist and tried to dismiss labels as silly.

"Yes, absolutely," Hickenlooper responded. "I think that's not accurate. And I think that as your interview with Elizabeth Warren showed, there are all kinds of different people making up the Democratic Party. Do I believe in free markets? Do I believe that you put capital to work to create jobs and improve your community? Back when I was a kid, businesses understood that part of their job wasn't just to make as much profit as they could, but it was to create the community. Once you get back into these labels, am I a capitalist, am I a socialist, how much of a capitalist am I versus how much of a socialist, it becomes kind of silly, doesn't it?"

"Well, the other candidates were comfortable answering the question, so I wanted to offer you a chance to answer it. I understand you're not comfortable directly answering it, but I want the move on," Brennan said.

"I'm comfortable. I'm happy," Hickenlooper said.

"I'm happy to say I'm a capitalist, but I think at a certain point the labels do nothing but divide us. What I'm trying to build this campaign around is to say that as a country, we've got to stop finding every excuse to divide ourselves," Hickenlooper continued.

Hickenlooper refused to call himself a capitalist during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe last week, and expressed his reluctance to use labels.