Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Compares First Democratic Debate to "High School Classroom"

Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

"Sometimes with the debate stage this big, it can kind of seem like a high school classroom and so there are some folks that didn't seem like they read the book and then they got called on," she said following the first debate when she visited 'The Late Show' on Wednesday.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited The Late Show on Wednesday following the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate to discuss the candidates with Stephen Colbert.

After receiving a warm welcome from the audience, Ocasio-Cortez and Colbert jumped right into discussing the debate between candidates Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar and Tim Ryan.

The two first discussed the amount of Spanish spoken by O'Rourke and Booker during the debate. "I thought it was humorous sometimes," said Ocasio-Cortez. She added that she expected the candidates to say, "I will not give you an answer to your question" in Spanish.

"I thought it was a good gesture to the fact that we are a diverse country," she said.

Ocasio-Cortez then shared that she thought some of the candidates were unprepared. "Sometimes with the debate stage this big, it can kind of seem like a high school classroom and so there are some folks that didn't seem like they read the book and then they got called on," she said. "It depends on the question. So they'll answer the question or still get called on and I don't think some candidates thought that they were gonna get called on a certain question and they'll be like, 'Yes, the hero was courageous and the protagonist of the story.'"

The congresswoman added that she thought Warren and Castro stuck out the most during the debate.

Colbert then asked what she thought about de Blasio. "I think he was good. I think what I have learned, too, going to D.C. is not everyone is accustomed to being a New Yorker and I have to work with Iowans and Minnesotans and stuff and they're like, 'Whoa, hey relax. Take it down a bit,'" she said. "The country has worked with New Yorkers. We have to atone, I think, for the one we have in the White House now, so we owe the country good New Yorkers."

She also spoke about the underdogs at the debate like Delaney and Ryan. "You know, sometimes you're an underdog until you're not," she said. "I'll be honest. I really do think that this was a breakaway night. I think that Elizabeth Warren really distinguished herself. I think Julian Castro really distinguished himself. I think Cory Booker did a great job in talking about criminal justice."

"I think that there were communities that got centered tonight," she said and noted that the trans and immigrant communities were both focused on during the debate. "I think that that was an extraordinary moment, as well."

Ocasio-Cortez added that she wished the moderators had asked the candidates to discuss climate change more thoroughly. "It is such a huge, broad, systemic issue and you can't just say, 'Is Miami going to exist in 50 years?'" she said. "We need to say, 'What are we going to do about this?'"

Colbert next asked Ocasio-Cortez what she meant when she previously said that Joe Biden is not the "safe choice" candidate for the general public.

"I think it's dangerous to assume that any candidate is a quote-unquote safe choice. That you pick one candidate and that's just gonna deliver an election for you," she explained. "But with respect to Vice President Biden, it's more about an overall electoral strategy, I think. I think there's this idea that we have to sacrifice everything, that we can't talk about working class issues, that we can't talk about criminal justice issues, that we can't talk about immigration because it isolates this very small sliver of Obama to Trump voters."

"If we sacrifice the issues of so many communities, I think we depress turn out," she continued. "What we need is more people to turn out next year than have ever turned out in American history."

Later in the appearance, Ocasio-Cortez spoke about Robert Mueller's upcoming testimonies in front of two committees of Congress. The congresswoman has been outspoken about her belief that Trump should be impeached and she shared how she thought the testimonies would impact Trump.

She said that she thought that Mueller standing in front of Congress and explaining the "scandalous" contents of his report would help Americans understand Trump's wrongdoings.

Ocasio-Cortez added that she and the House Oversight Committee had just called Kellyanne Conway in to testify. "So we actually sent a subpoena to her this morning," she revealed. "We have called her into the committee because she has violated what is known as The Hatch Act. You're not supposed to use your official office for a partisan campaign purpose."

She added that Conway did not show up to the meeting and instead spent the time calling in to Fox & Friends. "It's like when you call in sick to work and someone finds you at like the grocery store," she said. "It's like, 'You're getting a subpoena."'