Hillary Clinton refused to explain the difference between a socialist and a Democrat to Chris Matthews in an interview on MSNBC Tuesday.
Clinton, who called herself a "progressive Democrat," sidestepped the question at first, saying this was really a better question for Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist.
When pressed, Clinton simply replied "I'm not one" before talking about how much she wants to get people to work together.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/embed/26AXB8trgJU?showinfo=0;rel=0;fs=1 expand=1]
Glenn shared his reaction on radio Wednesday, saying it fascinated him that she couldn't answer the question---even though it was set up as a "softball question."
"She won't answer that at least for political reasons because the left falls apart," Glenn said.
Listen to the segment or read the transcript below.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
GLENN: CNN asked me if there were any questions that I would ask the Democratic candidates during their first debate. And I said, "Yes. What's the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?" I think that's really important to know. What's the difference? Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist. Hillary Clinton says she's a progressive Democrat. What's the difference between a progressive Democrat and a socialist?
A fascinating piece of audio. I mean, this is really, truly fascinating. Chris Matthews asked this of Hillary Clinton, and he is asking her in a way to help her. He's not coming to her and saying, "You're a socialist." He's actually trying to get her to say what the difference is. In his mind, there is a real difference between a socialist and a Democrat. I'd love to hear him answer this question.
But he sets Hillary Clinton up with what he believes is a softball question, and she cannot answer it. Listen.
CHRIS: What's the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? Is that a question you want to answer, or would you rather not?
PAT: And how about that too -- how about that qualifier, is that a question you would like to answer, or would you rather not? Because I can let that go if that's too hard.
GLENN: There was a real setup when he was talking about -- you know, before he got to that.
PAT: Yeah. Because he said, I want to help you out.
GLENN: That were his words. I want to help you out. Okay? Then, what is the difference? Do you want to answer that or not?
HILLARY: You know, you would have to ask --
CHRIS: Well, see, I'm asking you. You're a Democrat. He's a socialist. Would you like somebody to call you a socialist? I wouldn't like somebody calling me a socialist.
HILLARY: No, but I'm not one. I'm not one.
CHRIS: Okay. What's the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? That's the question.
HILLARY: Well, I can tell you what I am. I'm a progressive Democrat.
CHRIS: How is that different than a socialist?
HILLARY: Who likes to get things done. And who believes that we're better off in this country when we're trying to solve problems together. Getting people to work together. There will always be strong feelings, and I respect that, you know, from the far right, the far left, Libertarians. But whoever it might be, we need to get people working together. We got to get the economy fixed. We've got to get --
PAT: What a crap answer.
STU: There will always be strong feelings.
CHRIS: I think the difference is -- and Debbie Wasserman Schultz wouldn't answer the question either. I asked her. Because I know politically you have to keep together -- the center left and the left has to work together. I know all that.
GLENN: Stop. Stop. Do you hear that?
GLENN: I know you don't want to answer this because you have to keep all of you together. But he started with, "I wouldn't want to be called a socialist." So here's what's happening here, in this, he's talking about -- he is saying, "I wouldn't want to be called that. I would want to be called a socialist. What's the difference between the two?"
PAT: She can't.
GLENN: Then he realizes she can't answer that or she won't answer that at least for political reasons because the left falls apart. They're trying to tell us that we shouldn't listen to people like Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, he is crazy! He's crazy. And they've got to get Ted Cruz out of that party.
However, the leading candidate and one of the leading voices on the left from MSNBC, they're having a discussion that you probably don't even want to say that because you have to keep all of the crazies together. Isn't that interesting? They admit it!
GLENN: While they are telling us we have to separate ourselves from each other.
PAT: Yeah. And her bogus, BS, totally garbage answer on what a progressive Democrat answer is. It's not about people getting together and working together. That's about the government doing things for people. If it -- it's conservatives who are about people doing things together. That's conservatism. We all help one another. We keep the government out of it. And we want them at arm's length. Her deal is she wants the government to do it.
STU: She said that she understands that people have strong feelings, though.
GLENN: She could be saying, bringing people together in groups. For instance, we want the labor unions -- I'm being sincere. We want the labor unions and the Department of Labor to work together.
PAT: Or it could be, we like to bring people to groups and put them behind barbed wire, like they did in World War II. You know, it could be that.
GLENN: Right. Right. The progressives did that. She continues to say, she's an early 20th century American progressive. But really from the roots of the progressive -- they were all socialists. All of them were socialists. The only reason why they weren't communists is because the progressives, those socialists didn't believe in a violent overthrow of the United States government. They thought, "We'll just do it slowly. We'll progress into socialism." So there is no difference between a progressive and a socialist. Anybody who tells you differently is lying to you.
PAT: Communist with patience.
GLENN: Communists with patience. That's all they are.
STU: Yeah. And it's speed of delivery, right?
GLENN: Yes. It's why Barack Obama signed in a -- in gun control yesterday in his executive order because he knows, if Hillary Clinton gets in, she'll leave that in and build on top of it even more gun control. It's progressive. Little, teeny steps to get you where you want to go.
STU: Uh-huh. What is the endgame of Chris Matthews in this clip? What's he doing? Is he trying to say -- well, it's obvious there's a difference between socialists and Democrats. But you can't say it because you have a little political group to keep together. Is there any more to that clip where he explains what the difference is? Does he even say it?
PAT: No. No.
STU: Because I can't detect it anymore. There was a time where I guess you could.
GLENN: Let me say this. Here's good news from the Democratic front. And I can't remember the numbers exactly, but I think 54 percent -- let me just -- let me be crazy wrong in the other direction.
30 percent -- I believe it's 54 percent, but 30 percent of the Trump supporters are Reagan Democrats. So they're Democrats.
That tells me that there are Democrats out there that want an FDR-style Democrat in office. Now, I don't want an FDR-style. That's a progressive. And I don't want an FDR. But there are those Democrats that want an FDR-style president. And they don't buy into this Marxism that is so blatantly obvious with Barack Obama. And they don't like Hillary Clinton.
So a very bad number is 30 percent of the support coming for Donald Trump is -- is from a Democrat. So maybe there's a difference there.
STU: I don't know. I mean, it's funny because you see this --
GLENN: It's an America first -- the difference I think is --
STU: Big government control.
GLENN: Big government control, but America first.
STU: Right. Which is kind of like that old-school union. What the unions used to be back in the day.
GLENN: Yes. Yes. More of a, I hate to say it, national socialist.
STU: Hmm. The question about whether socialists and Democrats are the same is being answered by the market, right?
GLENN: Yes, they are the same.
STU: Right now, Bernie Sanders who is an admitted socialist has 35 percent of the vote. Which you might recognize is about roughly what Donald Trump has out of Republicans. Now, that's about the same percentage. He's sitting here running -- he's in second place in the primary. And he's saying he's a socialist.
Now, she has almost identical policies to him up and down the line, which is why she can't make the distinction. She just doesn't want the branding. But the Democrats themselves are accepting the branding. They don't mind it. They're coming out and saying, "You know what -- and this is a prediction you made long ago, that people would come out and just start saying it. Well, is there a clear example of people coming out and saying it when you're saying -- a guy who has admitted he's a socialist, has a third of the vote from the Democratic Party. So you could say, "Well, there might be a slight difference here or there." But the vast -- the general vibe of the party is we accept these values.
GLENN: And here's the other thing, if you don't think America is a progressive nation, you have to look at 35 percent is going for socialist. Then what is it? 35 percent is going for -- or 40 percent is going for Hillary Clinton. What is her number?
STU: No, she's higher than that. She's in the 50s.
GLENN: She's in the 50s. Okay. So that's one side. 30 percent of the other side is going for Donald Trump. He is a progressive. He is a national progressive. And that's -- that's who he is. So, you know, you've got, what? 50 percent of this country saying, I'm cool with that. I am cool with at least an FDR-style presidency.
PAT: Except I don't think Trump supporters don't think that's what Trump is. At least the Republicans ones.
PAT: They don't believe that he's the progressive that he is. They don't understand it. They don't get it. They don't care.
GLENN: How? How? How?
PAT: All they care about is his brashness. That's all they care about.
JEFFY: Well, and his management.
GLENN: No, come on. Don't be sarcastic on this. I'm really trying to understand --
JEFFY: They are.
GLENN: I don't think there's a way if you're intelligent at all, that if you're honest at all, if you look at his record of what he's done and said in the past and see him as anything, but a progressive. He said in the Republican debate, nationalized health care works.
JEFFY: Right. Right.
PAT: So you said it in your disclaimer. If you're intelligent at all --
GLENN: Or honest.
PAT: Or honest.
GLENN: I think there's a lot of intelligent people who are hoping that he is what they want him to be.
JEFFY: Right. The guy that will get things done. The management.
GLENN: Right. It's the same thing -- you know, reasonable people who voted for Barack Obama because he was about hope and change. And you talk to them, "No, listen. What is he saying about Jeremiah Wright?" That doesn't matter. He wants to change things this way. And they refuse to listen to it. So that's not intelligence. That's intellectual honesty.
Featured Image: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to guests gathered for a town hall meeting at the Orpheum Theater on January 5, 2016 in Sioux City, Iowa. Clinton, who is leading the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in Iowa, had three campaign stops scheduled in Iowa today. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)