Things are beginning to get testy in the Democratic primary as Bernie Sanders blasted Hillary Clinton for making unfair and inaccurate statements about his record during an interview on MSNBC’s Live With Thomas Roberts
Transcript via MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts:
ROBERTS: I want to talk about the legal battle with the DNC coming up in a moment, but first the next Democratic debate is this Sunday on NBC News and recently Hillary Clinton hit you on the issue of guns and health care. I want to play you what she told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie about those points. Take a look.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the big ones, as you’re aware, is on gun safety where Senator Sanders has been a pretty reliable vote for the gun lobby and I have been standing against them for a long time.
We have a difference on health care. I want to build on the Affordable Care Act. We have to make some changes because we have to improve it. He’s been talking very generally about a single payer system. He’s introduced legislation nine times that have laid out a very specific plan to take everybody’s health care and roll it into great big bundle and hand it to the states.
ROBERTS: So, let’s start with guns on this issue…
SANDERS: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let me just start off by saying that Secretary Clinton is really quite inaccurate on both of those charges. I have a D-minus – D-minus…
SANDERS: … voting record from the NRA.
SANDERS: In 1988 I probably lost a congressional election because I said maybe we should not have assault weapons being sold in America. So, to say that I’m kind of a supporter of the NRA is really a mean-spirited, and unfair and inaccurate statement.
ROBERTS: Then do you regret or apologize for voting to give gun manufacturers immunity protection from lawsuits?
SANDERS: There were things in that bill that I supported, there are things in that bill that do not make sense and are wrong. And as I have said for the last several months, I am willing to absolutely take a look at the onerous parts of that bill.
But let me also say, you know, I have asked Secretary Clinton, and let me repeat it right now, in 2008 when she was running against Senator Barack Obama, he proposed expanding — extending the life of Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income. We’ve taken that idea. And we say that we should expand benefits so that people in this country who are trying to get by on $12,000, $13,000 a year, elderly people, disabled vets, should see an increase in their Social Security benefits by lifting the cap above people making $250,000 a year or more.
I am waiting to hear whether Secretary Clinton has changed her views from 2008 and whether or not she will support an expansion of Social Security benefits for millions of elderly people who just cannot make it on $12,000 OR $13,000 a year.
Every campaign says that they don’t pay attention to polls, but it is not a coincidence that the Clinton campaign has increased their attacks on the healthcare and gun issues since Sanders began gaining momentum in Iowa. Pundits tend to lump the early states together, but make no mistake about it, this is all about Iowa.
The Clinton campaign is determined not to repeat their 2008 performance in the Hawkeye State. If Sanders can win in Iowa, his campaign will only get stronger. The Clinton people zeroed in on the gun issue as something that they think will separate Sanders from potential Democratic primary voters.
If the polls were not tightening, the Clinton campaign would not be attacking so hard. Sanders is giving an honest answer when he discusses the complexities of legislation when he tries to explain his gun voters, but his answer hasn’t been a good soundbite. Sanders has struggled to put this issue behind him. However, the Clinton campaign could be making a huge mistake by exaggerating the meaning of his previous voters.
The issues are important enough without exaggeration. Bernie Sanders is no friend of the NRA. The tone of the Democratic race is changing, as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a primary that may decide who will carry the Obama legacy forward.