Friday, May 10, 2019

KOA Interview With Marty Lenz: Hickenlooper on Meet the Press

John Hickenlooper held forth on a long Meet the Press interview with Chuck Todd last Sunday (March 31). Todd previewed Hickenlooper with the intro:

“Can a self-described extreme moderate win the nomination in an increasingly progressive Democratic Party? I’ll talk to former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.”

KOA’s ongoing coverage of Hickenlooper and his presidential campaign was moderated by Marty Lenz. We reviewed the NBC interview and where he stands today in the race.

  • It was a long interview. Hickenlooper got about 15 percent of the show and four questions.
  • Although his responses were better than several recent interviews, he still struggles with just answering the questions.
    • What would you do today about the border? Need immigration and comprehensive reform.
    • Are you an extreme moderate? Doesn’t like labels.
    • Any limits on abortion? Talk about Colorado’s anti-pregnancy plan for teenagers.

Hickenlooper’s responses lead into his campaign theme, which is that there are Colorado solutions and his experience at getting diverse people to agree to address problems is a winning formula. The answers tend to be indirect and wordy, but the key question is: Does it play in Iowa, New Hampshire and generally on the road? It certainly doesn’t produce applause lines yet.
Meet the Press - March 31, 2019

Part of Hickenlooper’s challenge as a Democratic moderate is that he’s trying to avoid offending any part of the Democratic coalition. For example, the label “extreme moderate” could turn off the establishment as to what does “extreme” mean, and for progressives, it sounds too moderate. Hence, Hickenlooper tries to avoid labels like the measles. Witness his “passionate capitalism” escapism on Morning Joe.

Hickenlooper hasn’t moved up in the queue. In fact, his move up is probably more difficult today due to the entering of Beto O’Rourke (huge crowds and funding), Pete Buttigieg ($7 million in contributions) and increased campaigning by Amy Klobuchar, who compete for moderate Democrats.

Hickenlooper remains a serious, but still very longshot candidate.

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