Bernie Sanders deflected Andrea Mitchell's shallow questions and narrative
I really enjoyed how Bernie Sanders handled the rather shallow and amateurish interview given to him by Andrea Mitchell. He ridiculed her on the gossipy Trump/Bill Clinton sexism reference. He belittled her concentration on petty issues by changing the question to address substantive middle-class centric issues. He challenged her misleading interpretation of a CNN poll. He ensured that she did no ignore his middle-class centric message in lieu of ISIS and warmongering. Following is the transcript of the relevant clips of the interview.
Andrea Mitchell: Let's talk about, first of all, the data breach and the dust up between you and the Democratic party. You fired one staffer. Suspended two others. Has any other action been taken, any update now, on this dispute?
Senator Bernie Sanders: Well, we're trying to work with the DNC to put this whole thing behind us. There were two breaches. We screwed up on one and the other one we did the right thing. Right now we're in negotiations with the DNC. Frankly, Andrea, I think for the American people there are far more important issues having to do with the disappearance of the American middle class and huge income and wealth inequality and climate change and the corrupt campaign finance system. So I think on both sides we'd like to focus on the real issues.
Andrea Mitchell: Well, while you're trying to, as you point out, focus on the real issues, there have been charges of sexism back and forth between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. ... Then she said said that she's going to have Bill Clinton campaigning in January and he tweeted out in the last 24 hours, "Hillary Clinton has announced she is letting her husband up to campaign, but he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism. So inappropriate." Are we getting into an argument not only of sexism between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump attacking Bill Clinton?
Senator Bernie Sanders: Well, I tell you what. We're going to let my wife Jane out and I think Hillary is going to be in real, real trouble. But look, the real issues are not Donald Trump's vulgarity. And he is vulgar. It is the fact that Donald Trump thinks we should not be raising the minimum wage. He believes that wages in America are too high. This guy wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 3/10 of 1%, and meanwhile what he wants to do is divide our country between Latinos and Americans and Muslims and everybody else. That's not the kind of America we need.
Andrea, what we have got to do is ask the hard questions. And that is why is it that the people on top are doing phenomenally well while almost everybody else is seeing a decline in their real incomes? Why is it that we're not effectively addressing the fact that climate change is absolutely real.
I am in Burlington, Vermont right now. Nobody can recall a Christmas Eve the likes of which we have seen where the temperature was 65°. And what the scientists are telling us, if we don't get our act together we're going to be leaving a planet to our kids and grandchildren which is not going to be in good shape. And yet Donald Trump, among others, denies even the reality of climate change, let alone doing something about it. ...
Andrea Mitchell: While these are really important issues, what recent polling shows is that Americans, since Paris, since San Bernardino, are more concerned about terrorism, the threat of terrorism, than they are about the economy. At least according to the polling. And in fact you have polled within eight points of Hillary Clinton in a recent CNN poll, taken before last Saturday night's debate. But the margin widened to 33 points among those polled after the Saturday night debate...
Senator Bernie Sanders: It's interesting the way CNN spun that poll, because you know what that poll showed? It showed between their last poll and this current poll we gained 12 points on Hillary Clinton. She dropped eight. We went up by four. That is the message of the poll. Another poll came out, Rasmussen, also showing us closing the gap. In New Hampshire some of the recent polls have us ahead and in Iowa, we're close to catching up to her. ...
So what I think American leadership is about is putting together that international coalition to destroy ISIS.
But let me also say this, Andrea. I know sometimes the media thinks that is the only issue. It is an enormously important issue. We have got to defend America. We have got to destroy ISIS. But right now are people watching this program who are 55, 60 years of age. They have zero dollars in their retirement account. They're wondering how they're going to make it in their older age, which is why we have to expand Social Security.
There are millions of young people out there desperately want to go to college. Don't want to leave college deeply in debt. We have got to deal with that issue. We're the only major country on Earth that doesn't provide paid family and medical leave. Doesn't provide healthcare for all people as a right.
We cannot ignore those issues. So my view is yes, of course, we've got to focus on foreign policy. We have to destroy ISIS. But I will not stop fighting for working families and the middle class, will not stop taking on a billionaire class whose greed, in many ways, is destroying our economy.