Ellison comments on Obama criticized as 'a stupid thing to say'
© Keren Carrion

A former State Department spokeswoman is ripping Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison for criticizing President Obama.

Marie Harf, a spokeswoman during Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes Kerry#AnybodyButTrump2020 trends as Trump rolls out reelection campaign #AnybodyButTrump2020 trends as Trump rolls out reelection campaign Orlando Sentinel declines to endorse Trump in 2020 MORE’s tenure who also worked on Obama’s campaign, said Ellison’s remakrs blaming Obama for the Democratic Party’s losses is “a stupid thing to say and I don’t think it’s true.”

Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump takes credit for passing veterans bill that passed under Obama Orlando Sentinel declines to endorse Trump in 2020 Progressive activist: Democratic nominee will 'need to ride a little bit to the center' MORE’s approval numbers have remained very high. They only got higher throughout the course of this campaign,” Harf said on “Fox and Friends” Saturday.

She then said the party should look at all of the reasons it lost the White House in 2016, including Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Trump jokes he'd get 'electric chair' if he deleted even one 'love note' email to Melania MORE’s campaign.

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“And as a Democrat I want my party to look at all the reasons we lost in 2016. There are a lot of them, starting with a bad campaign strategy, a candidate with a lot of baggage, a lot of external factors, misreading the country’s mood, especially in key states,” Harf said.  

“Blaming a popular former president . .  . It’s a stupid thing to say and I don’t think it’s true.”

Ellison this week said Obama should get some of the blame for all of the losses Democrats experienced under his leadership.

Democrats held big majorities in the House and Senate at the outset of his presidency, but both were lost in the course of his two terms.

Worse for the party were huge losses at the state level, which allowed Republicans to control legislatures across the country that allowed them to redraw many legislative district lines.

That’s made winning back the House even more difficult for Democrats.

“Look I’m a great fan of President Obama. I totally voted for many of the things he supported — Dodd Frank, Affordable Care Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — I could keep going,” Ellison said at an event Wednesday at the University of Minnesota.

“Wonderful achievements. But Barack Obama could have been a better party leader, and I think the fact that he wasn’t put his legacy in jeopardy,” he said.

“Your legacy is not a building that he’s going to construct in Chicago housing his presidential papers,” Ellison continued. “His legacy is the work he’s done, which I believe is tremendous. But given we lost a lot of statehouse seats, governorships, secretary of states, his true legacy is in danger, and I think he can’t say that he wasn’t part of those losses. Who else, right?”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) in an appearance on “Morning Joe” separately suggested Ellison’s comments were unhelpful to the party, though he did not explicitly disagree with the criticism.

He said blame for the Democrats’ losses should be widespread.

Ellison ran to be DNC chairman this year but was defeated by former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who was seen as having Obama’s backing.

The two have since done much to promote unity within the party, including by going on a tour across the country.