Bernie Sanders was ready for the sandbagging with the past
Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton appeared on ThisWeek with George Stephanopoulos. For the most part Stephanopoulos asked probative questions of both candidates. He however seemed to be a host with a bias when at the end of the following exchange his question seemed to be one from the Clinton team.
George Stephanopoulos: You know, you’ve -- Secretary Clinton’s campaign is also making the point about electability. She seemed delighted by the fact that Karl Rove’s campaign is now running an ad against her in Iowa. And you know that in a campaign, past positions are going to get scrutiny. So I wonder how you respond to some of the things that are circulating now about your past positions, back when you were running for Governor of Vermont, as the Liberty Union Party candidate, in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Do you urge congressmen to give serious thought to the nationalization of the oil industry? And then you went on in the long run, Sanders said, all utilities must go under public ownership and all necessities of life must be provided free for people.
Bernie Sanders: You know what, George? George, George -- you know, when -- that was a long, long time ago. Before I ever was elected to anything. I was Mayor of Burlington for eight years. I’ve in Congress for 25 years. You’re right, they can go back. People can go back and look at the fact that Hillary Clinton, as I understand it, was a supporter of Barry Goldwater. Who cares? That was a long, long time ago. What I have run.
George Stephanopoulos: What -- what were you thinking then and what changed your mind?
Bernie Sanders: No, I don’t -- it’s -- what I said 40 years ago is less important you talk about electability. If you look at all of the polls, or almost all of the polls that are out there today, today, what you find is that Bernie Sanders defeats Donald Trump by a much larger margin than does Hillary Clinton. In the last national poll that I’ve seen, we beat Trump by 13 points. If you look at the battleground states like Iowa and New Hampshire, we beat him also by a whole lot, more than Hillary Clinton. I think our appeal is through not only Democrats, not only the young people, not only the working class people, but the Independents as well. So if you are concerned, or if the American people, or Democrats, are concerned about which candidate has the best opportunity to defeat right wing Republicans, I think you’re looking at him: Bernie Sanders.
George Stephanopoulos: OK, and finally, just to be clear, so those positions -- you completely disavow them.
Bernie Sanders: You know, George, I have been an elected official for 25 years. Yes, those positions are what I -- what were before I even assumed any office. I have a record of eight years as the Mayor of the City of Burlington, 16 years in the House, 9 years in the Senate. I’m very proud of that record. And anyone who wants to argue with me about that record, that’s fine. You want to go back 40 or 50 years? That’s fine. I don’t think people give much credence to that.
It is absolutely true that in a general election those statements will be used against Bernie Sanders. It is also true that with the demise of the middle-class the expected reaction will be very different than what it would have been during the heights of Reaganomics.
Stephanopoulos should not be asking a candidate about disavowing a position in the manner it was done when he did not ask Clinton any such relevant question. It is the media trying to do another candidate's dirty work. Bernie Sanders had no problem dispatching the question.