Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer declined to describe the difference between Democrats and socialists Tuesday in an interview ahead of the State of the Union.
“Oh, it depends how you define each one, doesn’t it?” Schumer said when posed the question by Chris Matthews on MSNBC.
“Well, you do it,” Matthews said. But Schumer declined.
“Well, I’m not gonna get into it,” he said with a laugh.
Matthews pressed further. “You guys are well-schooled in political polemics and language and nomenclature,” he said. “You are quite capable of describing the difference between a socialist, self-described, and a Democrat, self-described. What is it?”
Schumer declined again, choosing instead to talk about Democratic presidential candidate and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders.
“I have nothing bad to say about Bernie Sanders,” he said. “I think Bernie is the real deal. He’s been talking this way since the day he got to the Senate.”
Matthews then suggested changing the Democratic Party’s name to the Social Democratic Party, a name similar to those used by some socialist parties in Europe.
“I think we’re happy with our present name,” Schumer replied.
Schumer’s difficulties come a week after Matthews tossed a similar question at Hillary Clinton. While Clinton strongly denied being a socialist, she also didn’t explain what set her apart from socialists.
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