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Pelosi Challenger Branded 'Inconsequential' by Leader Still Gunning for Her Job

tim ryan films a message on the steps of the Capitol

WASHINGTON -- The Ohio Dem who unsuccessfully challenged House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her leadership post says he's still making a play for a change of course.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) got the support of 64 Dems in November 2016's closed-door leadership election compared to 134 votes for Pelosi.

The congressman said last summer that lawmakers in the Beltway aren't "realizing just how toxic the Democratic Party brand is" in so much of the country.

On Wednesday, he told CNN's Chris Cuomo that his "position hasn't changed since I ran last year."

"I think we -- the country is calling for change. They want new leadership. And I think the Democratic Party needs to give it to 'em," Ryan said.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has also been calling for new leadership. “This isn’t about age,” Moulton told the Associated Press last December. “It’s about new ideas. It’s about having a vision and a plan for the future.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Pelosi branded those calls "inconsequential."

“They don’t have a following in our caucus," she said of the younger challengers. "None.”

Ryan told CNN he was "very disappointed" in Pelosi's comments.

"I mean, take a guy like Seth Moulton who's recruited 20 or 25 different veterans to run. He's served himself. He's one of a few vets that are in our caucus. And I think to call his work inconsequential is not what we want to do. We need to come together as Democrats. Obviously, we have huge threats with what President Trump is doing domestically and abroad. And we need to come together," he said.

"And I also think that those kind of comments about people in our own caucus and our own Democratic caucus is disappointing because what it does is it communicates to all of those veterans that Seth Moulton is helping that they're inconsequential. You know, blue-collar people in Ohio, they're 'inconsequential.' And I think that's the exact attitude that got us in the position we're in right now."

Cuomo asked Ryan how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's win in New York -- "this new part of your party that wants free everything -- free college, free housing, free health care, abolish ICE" -- would work in the rest of the country.

"I think when we're talking about congressional races, we have to leave the issues to the local candidates. This is a diverse country regionally and a variety of other ways. So, each candidate's got to determine what's in the best interests of their local community that they're running to represent. And I think as far as what's happening in Washington, D.C., she talked a lot about economic issues," Ryan replied.

"I think a lot of working-class people took a flyer on Trump because neither party addressed the main structural economic and cultural issues of our time -- globalization, automation. Neither party really addressed those issues," he added. "And so, you have communities all across the Industrial Midwest and the South that have been hollowed out. And so, the Democrats need an agenda of opportunity but also how we're going to rebuild the country, how we're going to be and use our ingenuity to redefine the United States, to bring private investment. And this is a distinction I think we need to make, that it can't just be government spending."