Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) wouldn't say Sunday if he wanted Hillary Clinton to campaign for the party in the 2018 midterms, dodging questions about her recent controversial remarks about President Donald Trump's supporters.
Clinton angered red-state Democrats last month when she said she won forward-looking places in 2016 while Trump's campaign was "backwards" and was supported by bigoted people who "didn't like black people getting rights, you don't like women, you know, getting jobs."
MSNBC host Steve Kornacki noted some Republicans have used Clinton's comments in ads against vulnerable Democrats, asking Ellison if Clinton's remarks would hurt Democrats in places where Trump won.
"We're going to be focused on working-class, kitchen table issues," Ellison said, describing visiting Michigan and talking to families concerned about wages and pensions.
Ellison didn't mention Clinton once in his response, although he said Democrats would be more than "talking bad about anybody" but rather be "in favor of the American people."
Ellison noted Democrats would go to states like Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin—all of which Trump won in 2016—but Kornacki said Republicans are banking on the Democrats' economic message to middle America voters being undercut by Clinton's comments.
"Do you want her out there campaigning for Democrats?" Kornacki asked.
"I don't think one comment one person makes is the issue. I think people want to know, ‘What are you doing for us?'" Ellison said. "When I was in Detroit and in Trenton yesterday, people kept bringing up pensions … If somebody comes to them and says, ‘Hey, this one pol said this one thing this time,' people are going to be like, ‘Whatever, man. I want to know, is the Democrat Party going to fight for me?'"
Ellison said Democrats weren't just fighting to take back the House and Senate but also to win back state legislatures they lost in droves during the Barack Obama administration.
"We want the whole thing," he said.