Klobuchar: 'I'm not going to make promises just to get elected'

"I am running for president of the United States. And that means you bring people together," the Minnesota senator said Sunday.

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By Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., sought to separate herself from some of her Democratic presidential rivals on Sunday by arguing that while others are making “bigger promises,” she’s the candidate best positioned to achieve her goals in office.

“There are a lot of people making promises, and I’m not going to make promises just to get elected. I am not running for chair of the Democratic National Committee, I am running for president of the United States. And that means you bring people together,” she said during an exclusive interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Some of my colleagues, yes, they have, I guess you can call them, bigger and bigger promises. But I think what’s most important to the people of America is that we actually get those things done.”

Klobuchar has staked out a more centrist position in the Democratic presidential field. For example, while other candidates want to overhaul the health-care system by transitioning to “Medicare for All,” she supports a plan that would create a public option but allow those on private insurance to keep their plans.

“I’m very concerned about some of these plans that would kick half of America off their insurance. I don’t agree with that,” she said.

And while some candidates are calling for free four-year college tuition, or the complete elimination of student loan debt, Klobuchar said she backs policies like free community college tuition and expanding Pell Grants.

But Klobuchar said Sunday it would be a mistake to discount her prescription for America as not “bold” enough.

“There are bold plans here. I want to double Pell Grants. That’ll help so many kids,” she said.

“I want to move forward with a public option and finally take on the pharmaceutical companies," she added. “Those are big, bold things that haven’t been done.”

Klobuchar on Sunday also addressed the ongoing debate over former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent comments about working with segregationist senators decades ago. Biden apologized over the weekend for giving the “impression to people that I was praising those men,” but defended the “50 years of my record for fighting for civil rights and racial justice in this country.”

“It is fair to talk about the fact that if you are dealing with a racist or a segregationist, as he was, you have to call them out. And he’s now apologized for not doing that at the time and apologized for his past statements on busing,” she said.

And she argued that while presidential candidates may be asked to account for their political record, that America is better off having a politician with a proven history in politics.

“In a presidential race like this, with so many candidates — yes, you have to explain your past votes. It doesn’t meant that every single person did every single thing right,” she said.

“Your other alternative is to have someone that has no experience at all, has no votes and has done nothing. I don’t think the American people want that. They put someone in the White House that didn’t have any experience working with Washington. And what do we have? Chaos, gridlock.”