John Hickenlooper says his 2020 campaign is 'wide open'

The presidential candidate discusses Trump's "go back" tweets and rally, plus why he isn't leaving the crowded 2020 field.
8:36 | 07/19/19

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Transcript for John Hickenlooper says his 2020 campaign is 'wide open'
No. I agree completely with the communal attitude that, you know, racist statements can't go unanswered. Why do you think he threw the base under the bus though? That's not good for the base, is it? No, but I think he has a strategy that is just to create turmoil and keep people divided, all people, and out of that chaos, he feels like he has an advantage, and whether we like it or not, it has worked. You come from a state with an enormous amount of hispanics. How do you think this will play out in your state races with Gardner's senate re-election? I think senator Gardner will have a hard time. He has consistently voted with and stood up for president trump, and again, Hillary Clinton won Colorado by almost five points. So it's not a state that's going to take kindly to someone who, again, supports racist Mm-hmm. Okay. Let's talk about you because I now know that you are a former geologist which is interesting. Pub owner. That's interesting to me. That's interesting to her. We made our own beer. You were the two-term governor of Colorado. You have quite a resume. You're polling between 0% and 1%. It hurts, doesn't it? Some of your top staffers recently left your campaign. There's the sinking ship theory, that you are not going anywhere, and they're saying you're not a good messenger. You have to be a good messenger in this race, don't you think? I think all politics is about how you communicate things, and certainly my life, right? Right when I got laid off as a geologist, and starting a pub in the rocky mountains, it took two years to raise the money. I couldn't get my own mother to invest. But you don't quit, and when I was running for mayor the first time in 2003, I was 49 years old. I had never run for anything. I think I'm the only person running for president who never ran for student council and I was a 1% or 2% or 3% in the polls and you just keep trying to shake things up and doing I think this campaign is wide I think most people haven't really started paying attention yet. If I get my message out, I'm the one person of all the people running that has actually done the big, Progressive things that everyone else is just talking about. If I can get people to really hear that, I think especially in places like Iowa and new Hampshire which are really pragmatic, I think a lot of people say, huh. That's how we're going to beat Donald Trump. So are you a Progressive or a moderate? Which are you? I'm a pragmatic Progressive. I like that. What are these Progressive things that you have accomplished? In Colorado, we got to near universal health care by bringing people together, Republicans and Democrats. We created one of the most innovative health care exchanges in the country. We passed universal background checks for gun purchases in a purple state. Think about that. We were able to go -- when I got elected, we were 40th in job creation, and I made a commitment that we would raise up the whole state. So according to U.S. News and world report for the last three years, we're the number one economy in the country. And I think we're the number -- top two or three rural economies. I know that next year by the end of next year, we'll have broad band in every city in town in the entire state of Colorado. These are the big Progressive goals, right? Have an economy that works for everybody. Bring rural and urban, the successes share. Bring them together. That's the kind of thing that this country was built on, You just hired new staff. New staff in the last couple of years, so you're a couple of weeks trying to reboot the campaign, and last night, CNN did a live drawing to determine the lineups of July 30th and July 31st debates. You're on, you know, what I call the white night. The other one is in living color. So you're going to be on with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Beto O'rourke, and I remember from the first debate Amy klobuchar slapped you down pretty hard when you said that line, that you were the only one that had done something on -- on, you know, abortion rights and she said there is three women on the stage -- how do you distinguish yourself? How do you distinguish yourself in such a field? I think that wasn't to me. Oh, it wasn't to you? I didn't make that statement. Who was it to? I don't remember. Inslee. I wasn't out on her night. Oh. All white people look alike apparently. She got you on that one. I think when I say that I have -- I have done what everyone else is talking about, we actually implemented the -- Be careful. When Sarah McCain made that deciding vote to protect the affordable care act. Here's a Republican and a Democrat who both recognize their problems with the affordable care act, but we can prove it and we can go forward rather than backward, and Sarah McCain made that statement, that we can look to those who implemented these laws so see if they can work or not. Doesn't health care -- isn't health care the real thing that Democrats should be pushing? Even a lot of -- if a lot of people in his base are -- or let's say they're racists, even racists get sick, right? It's health care, health care, health care. Everybody needs health care. The Republicans will give you no health care. Am I right? Exactly. A big part -- of why I ran in 2003, one of the reasons I ran is because I think government can be smaller sometimes. It has got to be more effective, not whether it's bigger or smaller. Government has got to work. I believe government in a democracy, you have to believe in government. Maybe you want it smaller or to do different things, but you have got to believe in government. I felt that too many times the Republicans really didn't want it to work, and in health care, you know, it's not just getting universal coverage, right? I agree. I mean, health care is a basic right. It's not a privilege. Right. Right? But at the same time, we have got to look at inflation, and for the last 30 years, the inflationary costs of health care are almost double what the cpi has done, all right? That's eating alive our budget. It's part of the reason that costs for going to college and public universities has gone up so much, because more states are having to spend more money on health care. Right. Right. Well, governor in my humble opinion, the reason the Democrats could lose is socialism, which I know people say Republicans are using this as some kind of dirty word to scare people, but you said, quote, if you want to beat Donald Trump, socialism is not the answer. You were booed very loudly by Democrats at the convention in California for saying that. Front runners like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe in socialism and believe that is the future of the party. For you as a moderate Democrat, how do you fight what seems to be the trend of socialism within your party? Well, I think that right now we're in the beginning of this campaign. Again, many people aren't paying attention, and obviously at the beginning, you have the more idealistic, the more visionary, utopian visions come out. Delusional candidates about what we can afford. How do you define socialism? That's part of the question. Some people define socialism as social security, and yet in reality, social security, the employer pays in an equal share with the employee. It's not a big government program per se. It's a very shrewd solution to how do we make sure that people have the ability to retire? That was Roosevelt, right? That was Roosevelt, exactly. Was he a socialist? He is not a socialist. Do you agree it is a trepid that it is growing? Or is it a minority that's getting a lot of -- I think it's the minority that early in the campaign is looking at these idealistic visions and goals. If you want to re-elect Donald Trump, if you want to help re-elect I would argue the worst president in American history. Let's go try to guarantee a four-year conversion to single payer to medicare for all. Let's go out there, and guarantee we're going to give every American a federal job if they want one. That's got going to work. We're going to take a break, and we want you to stay and we'll do another segment with you. The only person who says he's a socialist is Bernie Sanders. Right. The others are just ultraliberal in my opinion. You have got to recognize -- Trump doesn't tell him to go back home.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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