Klobuchar Admits ‘Mistakes’ for Forgetting Mexican Leader’s Name

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar said her inability to remember the name of the president of Mexico in an interview last week was an honest mistake after a long day of campaigning.

“I have a lot of respect for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,” Klobuchar told Bloomberg News in Las Vegas on Tuesday. “I did that interview late at night, midnight my time, after being in Washington all day and you make mistakes sometimes but I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Klobuchar highlighted her support for the recently passed U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and committed to meeting with Lopez Obrador in her first 100 days as president. She also pointed to her record in passing comprehensive immigration reform, including a 2013 bill that included a pathway to citizenship and the Dream Act.

The Minnesota senator, who has been campaigning in Nevada before that state’s caucuses on Saturday, had a rough start in her attempt to woo Latino voters when Telemundo correspondent Guadalupe Venegas on Thursday pressed her to name Lopez Obrador, who was sworn in as the president of Mexico in 2018.

“Do you know who he is, do you know his name?” Venegas asked.

“I know that he is the Mexican president,” Klobuchar responded.

“But can you tell me his name,” Venegas pressed.

“Uh, no,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar’s failure to name the Mexican leader comes as she’s trying to prove that her campaign can attract support from a diverse electorate in Nevada and in Super Tuesday states like Arizona and Texas following her surprise strong finish in New Hampshire.

While she campaigned this week in Nevada, where Latinos make up a significant portion of the electorate, Klobuchar focused on her record on immigration reform and repeatedly stressed that “immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America.”

Telemundo pressed Klobuchar on Lopez Obrador, a leftist who has come under fire for his administration’s tough stance on immigrants who reach the Mexican border. Klobuchar, who sits on the Senate’s Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, as well as the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection, did not elaborate. Instead, she pointed to her support for the new trade agreement, known as USMCA, and her work with other Mexican officials in her career.

Tom Steyer, who was asked the same question, responded, “I forget.” Pete Buttigieg was the only candidate to name the Mexican leader, before adding “I’m no expert in Mexican politics, but President Lopez Obrador is one of the most important leaders in the Hemisphere.” While campaigning in Las Vegas on Sunday, Buttigieg took a swipe at Klobuchar’s inability to answer the question.

“I guess what it says is there is more to being prepared than how many years you’ve spent in Washington,” Buttigieg said.

Klobuchar responded to Buttigieg’s comments at a CNN town hall on Tuesday. “I would say to the mayor this isn’t like a game of ‘Jeopardy,’” she said. “This is about, to me, experience and I have so much respect for him and his experience but my experience is different. I have been in the Senate and I have passed over 100 bills.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is aligned with Elizabeth Warren, also took aim at the Minnesota senator. In an email press release Monday, the group criticized Klobuchar’s interview with Telemundo, calling her “completely unprepared.” The group also attributed her success in New Hampshire to “a couple good zingers in the last debate.”

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