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Rep. Seth Moulton wants new Democratic leadership before 2018 midterms

Preview: "The Takeout" 7/28
Rep. Seth Moulton wants new Democratic leadership before 2018 elections 01:34

In a sharp rebuke of his party's congressional leadership, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Massachusetts, is calling for "new messengers" before the 2018 midterm elections.

"I think it's time for a change," he told CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett and Political Director Steve Chaggaris. The current slate of Democratic leaders, said Moulton, is not "the right thing right now for the party."

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"So, let me just put this in very stark terms," said Garrett on the latest episode of "The Takeout" podcast. "You head into the 2018 midterms. You want this leadership team to be the bumper sticker for the Democratic House minority or not?"

"No, I don't," Moulton responded.

Moulton has been openly critical of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, particularly in the weeks since Democrats lost four special elections in June. He has frequently called for new leadership but is now more impatient to usher the current leaders out.

"There's going to have to be a pretty significant uprising in the House Democratic Caucus to make that happen," Garrett pointed out.

"Well, that's right," Moulton said. "But I think it's the right thing to do. I mean, when Americans are losing their health care because we can't hold the Republicans accountable, when Donald Trump is running roughshod over our national security and putting the nation at risk because we can't hold him accountable in the House of Representatives."

"What we've got to do - not just for our party, but I think for so many American people - is start winning again," he continued. "Start bringing some balance back to Washington and start winning with leadership that the American people can trust - not the old, tired Democratic partisan leadership - but really a new generation of leaders who are going to put the country first."

Still, Moulton was careful to point out he considers Pelosi an "amazing politician."

"She's really achieved an awful lot," he said. "Obamacare wouldn't exist - it's saved millions of lives - without Pelosi getting it through the House. Not a perfect piece of legislation, but she deserves a lot of credit for that."

In late June after Moulton and others called on her to step down as leader based on the results of the special elections. Pelosi defended her record on "CBS This Morning," referring to herself as a "master legislator."

"We just lost the election," she said. "We could write a message, but the fact is we need our members to write a message and they know full well – that that is something we're working with the Senate to go forward," she said.

Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantry officer, disagrees. He insists the answer to the Democrats' messaging problem isn't coming from the members. That's the responsibility of the party leadership. While he says at this time he is not considering the role for himself, he is working hard to  get fellow veterans involved in politics.

"I've been calling for a new generation of leadership in the Democratic Party, and that's why I'm working so hard to recruit these veterans across the country," he said. "[They] want to get in, want to provide some new leadership - some less partisan leadership, some leadership that Americans of all political stripes can believe in."

"Look, I just think it's time for a change, Major."

For more from Major and Steve's conversation with Rep. Seth Moulton about President Trump's new plan for transgender service members and reflections of his own service in Iraq, download this week's podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play, or Spotify. Also, you can watch this week's episode on CBSN Friday andSaturday nights at 9pm ET/PT. New episodes are available via podcast everyFriday morning.

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Produced by: Arden Farhi and Katiana Krawchenko

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