Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day” that autoworkers who she thought “were going to go back to Joe Biden, were very clear with me last night they were voting for President Trump.”
Partial transcript as follows:
CAMEROTA: So, you had your finger on the pulse last time around in 2016, you were one of the soul voices that was trying to get people’s attention and say that there could be trouble for Hillary in Michigan, you wrote, I will quote your words back to you: I was the crazy one. I predicted that Hillary Clinton was in trouble in Michigan during the Democratic primary, I observed that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination for president. And at Rotary Clubs, local chambers of commerce, union halls and mosques, I noted we could see a Trump presidency. So, Madam Fortune Teller, what are you seeing this time around on the ground?
DINGELL: So, good morning, Alisyn. Always good to be with you. It’s tightening here in Michigan. I am out there probably doing more than I should, but I’m always masked. And yesterday, I had — some of the autoworkers who I thought were going to go back to Joe Biden, were very clear with me last night they were voting for President Trump. And I think what we’re seeing now is that on the ground, people have to turn out their votes. As you noted, President Trump is coming back on Friday. My grapevine tells me he will probably be back again before Election Day. President Obama and Joe Biden will be here and it’s coming down to who they’re targeting and who is going to turn out. I think Democrats need to talk to the working men and women of the auto industry, those good, hard core workers that have always been the backbone of our economy.
CAMEROTA: Isn’t Joe Biden doing that? I mean, isn’t he talking to those folks?
DINGELL: He is talking to them, and it’s great (ph). And I want to make it clear the Biden campaign is listening. But I think in these last days, people are focused on turning out the Detroit, Flint votes, which matter greatly and may not quite be at the numbers people would like to see and suburban women, but we cannot — and I’m making — saying that strongly now after the last two days on the ground, we can’t forget that autoworker, the steelworker, teamster, whose jobs they’ve lost and are worried about, and they want to know as Democrats we care.
CAMEROTA: So, are you saying that the tightening you’re seeing suggests that the economy is as or more important than coronavirus and that Joe Biden somehow isn’t messaging to those folks well enough?
DINGELL: I think Joe Biden and the ad campaigns are — you know, reach voters in many different ways. We have to make sure that we’re talking — look, you want to know what an auto worker said to me last night, he said, I’m tired of your Democratic friends, they look down on me. I said, that’s not true about Joe Biden, he categorically does not. A little of what I said four years ago that President Obama promised to save our jobs, he did, but, you know, a lot of workers lost their jobs in 2008 or didn’t get a pay raise for a long time. We have to remember that working men and women are really worried. And even as we talk about — I was listening to you saying wouldn’t it be great if people could get up and test for COVID every day. But do you know who is not going to be able to afford that test or how they’re going to be able to do it? The front-line workers, the people that are in the grocery stores, the people that aren’t making as much money as they want to make. These are issues we’ve got to remember as Democrats.
CAMEROTA: And so, I know that you’ve said that the Biden campaign is listening, they’re responsive. What’s your advice to them today?
DINGELL: I gave it to them last night when I came home. We’ve got to focus, we’ve got to find ways that we can focus on making sure that we’re talking to white union workers in these next few days, as well as focusing on the other numbers. Look, I don’t believe any of the polls, I don’t think anybody is up tremendously, I think it’s competitive. I think Joe Biden is up right now, I think President Trump is going to make a hard push here, and we’ve got to push back. And we’ve got to push back on COVID, too. People are scared about COVID.
CAMEROTA: What are you seeing in the Senate race? I know that that has shifted, maybe the dynamic, this month.
DINGELL: I think that I — for me, that Senate race has been competitive for a year. I think it is competitive. People need to take it seriously. I think Gary Peters is doing that. He’s really working hard right now, but, you know, there’s split ticket voters that say, okay, I’m going to support Joe Biden, I want a balance, I’m going to vote for John James. Some people — you know, we had 90,000 voters that didn’t even vote in the presidential election last time. We’ve got to make sure that people vote in the presidential and the Senate race. So I’m not — you know, I’m not sounding the alarm bells like I was four years ago, but it’s competitive, it’s tight, every vote matters, and on the ground, we’ve got to deliver our votes and make sure we’re talking to people respectfully, and including everybody.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN