‘Are you F*cking Kidding Me?’: Ben Jealous Loses Cool When Asked if He’s a Socialist

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous addresses supporters at an election night party, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Baltimore. Jealous won the Democratic nomination for governor in Maryland, setting up a battle against popular incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Ben Jealous, former NAACP president and Democrat candidate for governor of Maryland, lost his cool during a press conference Wednesday when asked if he would describe himself as a socialist.

Transcript is as follows:

REPORTER: Mr. Jealous, Governor Hogan and the NGA made a significant amount of effort and investment in trying to paint you as a socialist. They’ve actually called you a socialist and a far-left socialist, and that the state can’t afford you.

JEALOUS: Yeah.

REPORTER: What is your response first to the term socialist, whether you embrace and identify [as] it to any degree, and secondly, the charge about whether the state can afford you?

JEALOUS: You know, I [just] about fell out my chair when I read in the Times this weekend that Hogan was out there calling me names. Then it occurred to me, him calling me a far-left socialist is what the Tea Party called President Obama. It’s what Barry Goldwater called Martin Luther King. When you see conservatives like Hogan name calling, you realize that they’re scared. That they are, frankly, afraid of the change that all of our families need. We need a more inclusive and robust economy. Now what I am, is a venture capitalist and what I do is invest in growing businesses. You go talk to Jess Gartner down in Baltimore City, whose company Allovue, she’ll tell you its benefited a lot more from my work as a venture capitalist than anything Governor Hogan has done as a governor.

The reality is, when it comes to building our economy, this governor has been lazy and we’re now paying a price for it. We are dead last in the in the region, as far as growth. We’re dead last as far as wage growth. We’ve seen health care costs surge on his watch, as he’s been part of the Republican effort to undermine Obamacare. When I’m governor, we will turn things around and we’ll do it by investing in our small businesses, by pushing everyone we can into Obamacare and doing whatever it takes to get a better deal on health care for the people of our state.

REPORTER: Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you identify with the term socialist?

JEALOUS: Are you f*cking kidding me? Is that a fine point? Okay.

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