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WATCH: Hickenlooper Refuses to Admit He is a Capitalist in Painful Morning Joe Exchange

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper found himself in a bit of a bind after MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked him whether he’d call himself a capitalist Friday morning. The Democratic governor and businessman, who is also running for president in 2020, seemed embarrassed to admit he believes in a free market coupled with hard work to keep an economy going.

Asked on Morning Joe whether he’d call himself a “proud capitalist,” Hickenlooper nervously laughed and replied he does not care about “labels.” He then hurriedly continued on a tangent about climate change.

Scarborough interjected: “Right. Let me ask you just I’ll break it down even more. Do you consider yourself a capitalist?”

After another rant about how he doesn’t care for labels, Hickenlooper allowed that he’s “a small business person” who understands “that system you call capitalist.”

“We worked 70,80,90 hours a week to build the business and we worked with other business owners to help build their business,” he said of the successful brewing company he cofounded in downtown Denver years ago. “Is that capitalism? I guess. So in that sense of building community that’s one way to do it, one aspect of it. It’s not all that it is.” He also said that he believes healthcare should be a right but he does not support Medicare for all, because he does not see it practical to throw ordinary Americans off their private insurance plans that have worked for them until now.

Scarborough, unsatisfied with Hickenlooper’s unwillingness to admit he’s a capitalist, continued to press on.

“Right. So do you consider yourself a capitalist and does capitalism work?” he asked.

After two or three more glaring instances in which the Colorado governor answered the same question by beating around the bush and refusing to adopt “labels,” one of the panelists finally intervened.

“I’m frightened that you’re in a position where it’s hard for you to come out and say it’s a capitalist,” said MSNBC’s Donny Deutch. “We are a capitalist society. That’s not a bad thing. That doesn’t mean we can’t still have more income equality, but that is my concern the way your party, my party is being hijacked, that it’s uncomfortable for you to say ‘I am a proud capitalist.'”

Hickenlooper said he feels the “labels” of capitalism versus socialism are causing a “divide” in the country, so he would rather avoid it.

“That’s my point,” said Deutch, continuing, “Can’t we say socialism? Is it bad for the Democratic Party to say socialism is a bad thing? That’s not who we are?”

Hickenlooper replied that “whatever label you choose,” there are pros in both capitalism and socialism; the economy is not purely free market-driven, he said, so he’d rather rely on a combination of economic theories rather than a single one.

Watch above, via MSNBC.

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