Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) rejected former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's assertion that liberals should do away with civility until after they beat Republicans at the ballot box.
"You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Clinton told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview.
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Civility, Clinton argued, could come back once Democrats are back in power in Congress.
"I'm wondering what you think about that idea, that you can't be civil, given the rhetoric coming from the Republicans. Can Democrats, should Democrats not be civil with Republicans?" CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Heitkamp in part of a Tuesday interview that did not make it to the airwaves.
"Well, that's ridiculous," Heitkamp responded. "I can't imagine how you get anything done if you don't bring civility back into politics."
"And that goes for both sides, ratchet down the rhetoric. I hope that we can find common ground in this country that sexual assault is more prominent than people thought it was," she continued, redirecting the conversion to allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh. The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, without the support of Heitkamp.
Heitkamp faces a difficult reelection battle in North Dakota, a state where Clinton only won 27 percent of the vote in 2016. The most recent poll of the race from Fox News shows her Republican opponent Kevin Cramer leading by 12 points.
In a statement following Heitkamp's remarks, the North Dakota Republican Party responded that it was "too little too late" and "another desperate attempt to remake her image," noting that the senator continued to back Clinton in 2016 despite the candidate's "basket of deplorables" comment.
"Heidi Heitkamp has spent the last six years ignoring the will of her constituents and dutifully following her liberal party leaders like Hillary Clinton," said Jake Wilkins, the North Dakota GOP communications director. "One cable news appearance won't make voters forget her support for higher taxes, dangerous sanctuary cities, and opposition to Justice Kavanaugh."
UPDATED 2:20 P.M.: This story was updated to add a statement from the North Dakota Republican Party.