Ex-Obama campaign staffer to Harris: 'Own' your policy positions

A former campaign staffer on President Obama's 2008 campaign is urging Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates 2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn MORE (D-Calif.) to "own" her policy positions, saying such a move will help regain her momentum in the primary race.

“You’ve got to own these things,” Zach Friend, who is now a county supervisor in Santa Cruz, Calif., said Friday during a Hill.TV interview while discussing Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate.

“If you think that there’s issues with Medicare for All, own it,” he continued.

Friend added that Democratic candidates who took ownership of their positions on Thursday night’s debate were generally viewed in a more positive light, and he called on Harris to be her “authentic self.”

“She had an amazing rollout and she’s my home state senator — she’s actually a remarkable person, I know her personally,” Friend said of Harris, noting that the senator is a prosecutor “through and through.”

The California senator has faced some criticism over what some believe is shift in her positions on certain issues such as health care.

She has also been seen as tentative in espousing her policy stances. In the second debate, Harris raised her hand in support of abolishing private insurance in favor of a government-run plan, but later said that she misheard the question.  

Harris has remained at single-digit support in most polls. A recent Hill-HarrisX poll conducted right before the third Democratic presidential debate found her up three points at 7 percent support behind Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors MORE (D-Mass.).

Friend’s comments come after 10 Democratic White House hopefuls took the stage Thursday night, where the contenders debated a number of issues, including health care, gun violence, trade and foreign policy.

One subject notably missing was a lack of questions about abortion or reproductive rights. Following the debate, both Harris and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke expressed disappointment over the lack of questions on the issue.

“The #DemDebate was three hours long and not one question about abortion or reproductive rights,” Harris tweeted following Thursday’s debate.

—Tess Bonn