Hickenlooper made the unpopular comment at the Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco.
“Let me be perfectly clear,” he told his not-very-receptive listeners, some of whom were holding signs backing the bid by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for the Democratic nomination. “If we want to beat (President) Donald Trump and achieve big, progressive goals, socialism is not the answer.”
As the booing from some 4,500 delegates and observers continued over his speech for several seconds, he warned: “You know, if we’re not careful, we’re going to end up helping to re-elect the worst president in American history.”
The booing picked up again when Hickenlooper began to talk about “pragmatism” — and expressed skepticism about proposals for a Green New Deal and government-run health care.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took the stage after Hickenlooper and, to roaring applause, said: “I am a governor who doesn’t think we should be ashamed of our progressive values.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who consistently polls at the head of the large pack in the Democratic race, skipped the event to speak instead at a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Columbus, Ohio, that kicked off LGBTQ Pride Month.