Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tore apart Martin O’Malley’s allegation that he was disloyal to President Obama during an interview on ABC’s This Week.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is Martin O’Malley at a Democratic forum on Friday night in South Carolina, and the man he was talking about, Senator Bernie Sanders joins us now. Thank you for joining us again, Senator Sanders. HE was bringing up that whole list of you not being a lifelong Democrat, being disloyal to President Obama. How do you respond to what Martin O’Malley said on Friday night?
SANDERS: Well, let me — let me respond. I am proud of the fact that I am the longest-serving Independent in the history of the United States Congress. That’s what the people of Vermont voted for. I made a decision in this presidential election that I will run as a Democrat; I am a Democrat now. And what I am going to do as the Democratic nominee, if we win this thing, and I think we have a good chance to do that, is to create a new and different type of Democratic Party to involve millions of people, George, who have given up on the political process — working class people and young people who today say, you know what? The economy is rigged; nothing I can do about it. Campaign finance system is corrupt, big money controls what’s going on.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what about this issue of trying to gin up primary opposition to President Obama last time around?
SANDERS: Now, look, this is media stuff. What ends up happening — I do and done for years a radio show. Every single Friday with Tom Hartman. Somebody asked me years ago do you think there should be a primary opponent to Barack Obama? I don’t know exactly the words that I said. I said what’s wrong with a primary situation? The idea that I’ve worked against him —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, here’s what you said — you said I think one of the reasons —
SANDERS: Well, let’s let them judge.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s what you said —
SANDERS: The idea that I’ve worked against Barack Obama is categorically false.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. But you did — you did say —
SANDERS: I’m sorry? No, I did —
STEPHANOPOULOS: — that you were talking, you would be talking to people a bit about having primary opposition.
SANDERS: Well, the answer is I’ve worked very hard to see Barack Obama elected. He came to Vermont to campaign for me in 2006. I’ve worked for him in 2008. I’ve worked for him in 2012. And listen I think under incredible Republican obstructionism, Obama and Joe Biden have moved this country in a way that leaves a hell of a lot better than we were when Bush left office. Do I have disagreements with Barack Obama? Was I on the floor for 8.5 hours saying, no, we should not be giving any more tax breaks to the wealthy? Do I disagree with him on TPP? Yes, I do.
But Barack Obama is a friend of mine; I think he’s been a very strong president and has taken this country extraordinarily difficult moment in history in a very positive way.
The attack by O’Malley on Sanders was bad strategy. Martin O’Malley is being squeezed out of the Democratic race. There isn’t room for a third candidate. It is Campaigning 101. O’Malley is running out of time and money. He needs to move up fast, or his campaign will be officially finished.
Bernie Sanders is liked by much of the left. He is trusted and has been honest about his views. The idea that he was disloyal to President Obama is silly. Overall, Sen. Sanders has been very supportive of President Obama. Obama and Democrats trusted Sanders with the bipartisan legislation to reform the VA.
Sanders has his disagreements with President Obama on issues like Social Security and the TPP, but he has always made it clear that he is a friend of the president who disagrees with him on policy.
The Martin O’Malley campaign is virtually dead. O’Malley worked for years to be the main challenger to Hillary Clinton, but his team never saw Bernie Sanders coming. From the moment that Sanders entered the Democratic primary, former Gov. O’Malley has been the third wheel.
Sen. Sanders demonstrated why attacking him in a negative way will almost always backfire.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association