The political conversation about Michael Bennet usually isn't what he'll do as president, but which other Democrat might pick him as a Cabinet member or ambassador.
Tuesday he might have marked two names off the list, as he took down the health care proposals of fellow U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. (Are you listening, Joe Biden?)
Campaigning in New Hampshire this week, he called out "candidates running on Medicare for All, like Elizabeth Warren, (who) open themselves up to attack from Donald Trump in the general election if they are not clear about the $31 trillion middle-class tax increase that comes with their healthcare plan," Bennet's campaign said in a press release Tuesday morning to tout his remarks.
Bennet drilled down on the point.
“Bernie’s been very honest about what the bill would cost,” he said in the statement. “I think it’s important for others, like Elizabeth, who are supporting this legislation, to be clear about how they’re proposing the American people would pay for that. I think that’s essential. The worst thing that we could do is nominate somebody who wasn’t clear about that, and then in the general election have it be exposed by Donald Trump.”
Given how central the health care plan is to the campaigns of the two top-tier candidates he name-checked, it seems a reach he would wind up as an adviser to either, at least on the subject of universal coverage unless they seek to moderate their views.
Watch video of Bennet’s take by clicking here.
Bennet has been an advocate for universal coverage with a public option for a decade, pushing for it in President Obama's Affordable Care Act. He is a Senate driver, along with former Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, of the stalled Medicare X public option.
The plan, however, has been shelved by legislative critics who deem it "too progressive," according to Politico.
The Colorado senator argues that Medicare X would allow people to continue to pick a health plan. He told Politico, “180 million people in America get their insurance through an employer-based plan, and Medicare X gives people the opportunity to decide whether they want to stay on that plan. Some of the other plans take away insurance from those 180 million.”
Criticism on the campaign trail, in the age of Trump, can fade in the post-election mist, however. Sen. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson both incurred Trump's wrath, only to side with the Republican president later on. Carson has been a member of the president's Cabinet since Trump took office.