DNC head: Dems will be a 'big tent party,' build presence 'in every zip code' in 2018

Tom Perez was elected chairman of the DNC in February.

"We frequently didn’t have a visible presence in all too many corners of America, and shame on us,” Perez told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on the Powerhouse Politics podcast.

"The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid," said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue in a statement.

Perez said that while the Democrats’ official platform is pro-abortion rights, there are some members of the party who believe otherwise. “I respect those personal beliefs. My view happens to be different,” Perez said, noting that sometimes it’s necessary to include candidates with opposing views on abortion rights “in terms of the big tent of our party.”

“If you’re going to be a big tent party as we are, and you're going to help elect democrats who have generated support in their communities ... the will of those voters is the will that we must respect,” Perez said.

But, he added, it’s not enough to just oppose the new administration. “We have to articulate what we stand for” and continue to push for progressive values in order to take back House or Senate seats in 2018.“When you recruit good candidates and you have a good message and you have energy and organization and partnership, you always have a fighting chance," he said.