House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mocked socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the other far-left fringe Democrats that Ocasio-Cortez associates with during an interview that aired on Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes."
"So you are contending with a group in Congress: Over here on the left flank are these self-described socialists, on the right, these moderates," host Lesley Stahl said. "And you yourself said that you're the only one who can unify everybody. And the question is, can you?"
"By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center," Pelosi responded. "That we have to go down the mainstream."
"You have these wings-- AOC, and her group on one side--" Lesley responded.
"That's like five people," Pelosi fired back.
Pelosi mocked Ocasio-Cortez in a USA Today interview earlier this month without using the 29-year-old former bartender's name, saying: "While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what's important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House."
Partial transcript provided via CBS News:
Lesley Stahl: Some of them told us that they're afraid of you.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Oh, no, they're not.
Lesley Stahl: And if they vote against you, if they don't toe the line, that they run out the back--
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Oh, they do that, yeah.
Lesley Stahl: --and they hide in phone booths, and they run--
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: But the men do that, too. That's not just the women.
But she does get pushback, for instance, from 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, who has proposed some out-of-the-mainstream measures.
Lesley Stahl: So you are contending with a group in Congress: Over here on the left flank are these self-described socialists, on the right, these moderates. And you yourself said that you're the only one who can unify everybody. And the question is can you?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center. That we have to be m-- go down the mainstream.
Lesley Stahl: They know that--
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: They do.
Lesley Stahl: But it doesn't look like that. It looks as if it-- you're-- it's fractured.
She likes to minimizes the conflicts within her caucus. Between the moderates and the progressives.
Lesley Stahl: You have these wings-- AOC, and her group on one side--
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: That's like five people.
Lesley Stahl: No, it's-- the progressive group is more than five.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well, the progressive-- I'm a progressive. Yeah.
Lesley Stahl: Well, as I understand it the progressives want radical change. They wanna get rid of Obamacare and replace it with Medicare for all. I was under the impression that you had said that you do not favor Medicare for all, that-- ACA, Obamacare is better.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well, Affordable Care Act is better than Medicare, there's no question about that. The Affordable Care Act benefits are better. Medicare doesn't have a catastrophic plan. So if you want Medicare for all you're gonna have to change Medicare and let's take a look at that.
Lesley Stahl: Well, Medicare for all-- it's not only being pushed by some members of your caucus, but also some of the presidential candidates. And it is allowing the president to say you're all socialists.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Do you know that when we did Med-- when Medicare was done by the Congress at the time, under Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan said, Medicare will lead us to a socialist dictatorship. This is-- this is an ongoing theme of the Republicans. However-- I do reject socialism as an economic system. If people have that view, that's their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.