Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday denied that front-runner Hillary Clinton backtracked
on her comments about the coal mining industry during a stopover in West Virginia, where a coal miner asked her about the statements she'd made about eliminating coal jobs.
"In saying that she made a misstatement, I don't think she was backtracking on the substance of what she said, but when you say something that comes out in a hurtful way you want to make sure that people understand that you still care about them," Wasserman told CNN "New Day" host Alisyn Camerota while defending the former secretary of state.
"Good for her for sitting down to people who really are deeply concerned about how their jobs and their industry is going to transition as we try to make sure that we can reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change and not completely put people out of work," said Wasserman Schultz.
Clinton is facing stiff opposition in coal states like West Virginia and Kentucky after saying in March that her clean energy plans would "put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business."
But at the same time, she also said she would make it clear that "we don't want to forget those people," and that her plans would bring about economic opportunity with clean, renewable energy.
She said Monday that her $30 billion plan will bring alternative jobs in coal states while protecting miners' health and pension benefits, and that her comments had been taken out of context.
Also on Tuesday, Wasserman Schultz rejected the idea that Donald Trump hijacked his own party with his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, and said his tactics will not be used by either of her own party's candidates.
"Donald Trump didn't hijack the Republican Party; Donald Trump is the Republican Party," the Florida congresswoman told Camerota.
"Republican voters are responding to his tone and style. That is an extremist Republican Party that's playing out . . . Their voters, and who is coming out to support him and the entire way their primary played out reflects how extreme and how off-base compared to the American people their party really is."
On Monday, Trump attacked Clinton with accusations of using "bad judgment" when it came to her use of a private email server, and on Iraq and Libya, reports The Hill
, and Wasserman Schultz told Camerota that the attacks came "from the person who is the dictionary definition of bad judgment."
"When the Republican Party is getting ready to nominate the most sexist, bigoted misogynistic candidate that we've had in the modern presidential election cycles, throwing around bad judgment is quite a bit coming from that guy," she said.
Meanwhile, Trump has threatened to pull out all the stops on Clinton, including bringing up her husband Bill's sexual history, but Wasserman Schultz said Democrats won't go after Trump with the same kind of attacks.
"We have been taking this election seriously," she said. "We're taking the American people seriously. That's why I've been so proud of both of our candidates. Our debates have been substantive, focusing on issues that matter to voters . . .
"We are going to prepare and are preparing fully to run the full gamut of a general election. Focus on the issues, but we're certainly not going to let ridiculous, extreme attacks throw off the focus of this campaign where voters really want it to remain."
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