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Tom Steyer: Pelosi "crumbs" line a mistake

Steyer: Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Billionaire and Democratic activist Tom Steyer has nothing but nice things to say about Nancy Pelosi — but he thinks she should stop using her "crumbs" line to talk about the GOP tax plan.

"Words really matter," he told Axios at the California Democratic Party convention. "I think she probably wouldn't use that word again because they're trying to use it against her. Nancy was making a point that was true, but she said it in a way that disparaged the amount of money that they were getting."

Steyer said he understands what Pelosi was trying to say — that the vast majority of Americans are getting a disproportionate amount compared to the wealthiest — but he said she should stop using "crumbs" because Republicans will continue to "turn it around to make it look like she's insensitive."

He wouldn't say if Democrats need new leadership. "I'm sure Nancy will kill herself to win on Nov. 6," he said. "I have a ton of gratitude for what she's done and the job she's done."

  • But he thinks the Democratic Party needs to figure out what it stands for and what it's willing to fight for.
  • His speech at the California Democratic Party convention will highlight that message. The Trump administration is "so damn dumb," he said, and Democrats have to ask: "What are they not doing that we want them to do?"

One quick thing, on Republicans dusting off their old playbook and using attack ads against Pelosi as a 2018 campaign strategy: "I don't think there's any doubt that Nancy is a flash for the hard-right," he said. "They've managed to turn her into a caricature of what they fear."

Go deeper: Prominent Democrats want Pelosi to stop using her "crumbs" line.