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The Head Of The Democratic National Committee Wants To Focus On Health Care, Not Impeachment

"I travel all over this country, and what I hear most frequently from people is, 'I got a preexisting condition,'" Tom Perez told BuzzFeed News' AM to DM.

Posted on August 28, 2018, at 12:05 p.m. ET

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said Tuesday the party would continue to talk to voters about issues like health care and education — in addition to talking about holding the president accountable — instead of focusing on impeachment ahead of the midterm elections.

"I travel all over this country, and what I hear most frequently from people is, 'I got a preexisting condition. I want my member of Congress, I want my senator, I want my governor to be fighting for me,'" Perez said in an interview with BuzzFeed News' AM to DM.

"I'm hearing from soy bean farmers in the industrial Midwest who are getting hammered by these tariffs that the president has put on them. I'm hearing from women who are concerned that their reproductive health is at risk, and so that's what we've been focused on."

In the aftermath of President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen implicating Trump in a conspiracy to commit campaign finance violations, Perez said Democrats can talk about "accountability" while sticking to the policy issues.

"We have a president who is completely off the rails. The culture of corruption in this town ... the swamp that they said they were going to drain is the size of the Pacific Ocean, and so we need guardrails, and we need to make sure we have Democrats in charge to hold this president accountable," he said.

"At the same time, we need to make sure we preserve these basic items of solid eduction, health care, that are providing that pathway to the middle class. That's what I'm hearing the most from voters."

Perez also said that Republicans continue to attack House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in campaign ads to keep their majority "because they don't have a message."

"They don’t have a message other than, 'We’re going to help rich people by giving them reckless tax cuts,' and so it's not a surprise to me that they would try to put Nancy Pelosi on the ballot."

Asked if Pelosi is hurting the party, Perez strongly defended the Democratic leader. "Without Nancy Pelosi, we would not have the Affordable Care Act. That is a fact."

"Thank god that Nancy Pelosi fought for the Affordable Care Act," he later added. "I talk to so many people with preexisting conditions, so many people who got health care for the first time in their lives, and they're eternally grateful."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.