Hickenlooper: I'm Not a Perfect Spokesman for My Own Ideas

Former governor polling at less than one percent

July 2, 2019

Former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper undermined his own strength as a candidate Tuesday after voicing an awkward comment about his strength as a spokesperson.

Hickenlooper appeared for an interview with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin to discuss his campaign's recent staff shakeup. After polling at less than 1 percent, the candidate will lose his campaign manager, communications director, and finance director.

Craig Melvin asked Hickenlooper why his campaign hadn't been able to sell his platform to the American people.

Hickenlooper first suggested that it was difficult to break through in polling with so many candidates in the Democratic field. But then he admitted that "I’m not always the perfect spokesman for my own—for my own ideas. But we’re working on that."

Melvin quickly pressed Hickenlooper on his frank admission.

"What do you mean by that?" Melvin asked. "You're not the perfect spokesperson for your own ideas?"

Hickenlooper explained that in a debate setting he is less willing to go after other candidates, and pointed out that he had no experience as a prosecutor like Kamala Harris. He also said that it was difficult to convey his message which calls for scaling up his policy record from Colorado to the United States.

"It doesn't translate into a slogan," Hickenlooper said. "I've got to get better at painting that bigger picture so people do hear it and see it and understand the clarity."

Melvin asked the candidate if he was saying that his campaign’s difficulties arose from a problem with "the messenger" rather than the message.

"I think it's a little the message, a little the messenger, a little bit of the team," Hickenlooper said.

Melvin later asked if Hickenlooper was having any success in bringing in donor contributions. The former governor confirmed that his campaign's numbers did not measure up to those of rival candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.

"It's harder to raise money because we don't—we're not promising free healthcare, or you know, to forgive free tuition for everyone, forgive student debt," Hickenlooper said.