Progressive action group defends Warren over dodging of 'Medicare for all' questions

An official at a leading progressive grassroots organization defended Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-Mass.) on Wednesday after she was attacked during Tuesday night's Democratic debate for avoiding questions on possible middle class tax hikes under “Medicare for all.”

“Democratic voters want to beat Trump and appreciate Democratic politicians who are savvy,” said Adam Green, who is a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is closely allied with Warren's campaign.

“I don’t see why we would give the insurance companies rope to hang Democrats with a deceptive talking point,” he added. “The bottom line is that Medicare for all will function like a tax cut for families.”

Warren spent much of the fourth Democratic debate fending off attacks from rivals on “Medicare for all,” particularly concerning how she would pay for the ambitious proposal.

The Massachusetts senator said her Medicare for all plan would raise taxes for wealthy Americans and corporations and lower costs for middle-class families.

But when pressed over whether her the middle class would have to pay more in taxes, she avoided the question and instead stuck to her talking points.

Warren’s response on how to pay for the health care proposal drew attacks from centrist candidates, including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico MORE (D) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-Minn.), who accused the progressive heavyweight of not coming clean with voters about her plan’s cost or impact. 

But, in his interview with Hill.TV, Green maintained that Warren effectively held her own throughout the sustained attacks.

“She did less defending her position than she did advancing her position on Medicare for all,” he said. “If millions of Americans came away thinking, ‘Boy, Elizabeth Warren wants to bring down costs for a family like mine,' that’s pretty good for Elizabeth Warren.”

The attacks marked the clearest sign yet of Warren’s newfound frontrunner status. Warren has jumped to the top of some national and statewide polls in recent months, including in several early voting states like New Hampshire.

— Tess Bonn