Top Bernie Sanders strategist Tad Devine went on MSNBC and shot down a New York Times report that he exposed as nothing more than an attempt to kill the Sanders presidential campaign.
A story that was published by The New York Times on Sunday made it sound like the Sanders campaign was admitting defeat, “Mr. Sanders is now campaigning more effectively than many expected, exposing Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate, and is positioning himself to win contests like the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday. But allies and advisers of Mr. Sanders say they missed opportunities to run an aggressive political operation in 2015 that would have presented more of a challenge to Mrs. Clinton. She has now firmly built a big lead in delegates needed to clinch the nomination — a margin that would be smaller if Mr. Sanders had run differently last year, according to interviews with more than 15 people who are on his team or close to him.”
Transcript via Andrea Mitchell Reports:
MITCHELL: Well, I have to ask you about today’s “New York Times” story…
MITCHELL: … which seems to be a mea culpa that he shouldn’t have been as – in the Senate as much as he was, he should have been running harder in 2015, he should have gone after Hillary Clinton earlier on not just her e-mails, but on the Goldman Sachs speech…
MITCHELL: … on financial services. He should have been more personal. There’s a quote, in fact, from Jane Sanders, “We didn’t run all over the nation last year,” Mrs. Sanders said. “We spent every week in the Senate and every weekend, three or four days a week, he would be running around the country. It’s something that gives you pause.”
So, Tad is the view that you blew up? Not you personally, I mean, but that the campaign…
MITCHELL: … blew the big chance to take this nomination away from her?
DEVINE: No, it’s not, Andrea. And listen, I spoke to “The New York Times” actually a couple of weeks ago right after we lost five states about a story they wanted to do which essentially says we were winding down the campaign and, you know, it was over.
And I told them, and I believe this, that after Nevada we decided on a different strategic course. It’s a tough road. It’s a long road. But I think it’s a road that we’re on right now, it’s a road that leads to victory. We to on Super Tuesday try to beat her in statewide contests. We targeted five. Won four of them, we almost won Massachusetts as well. We won some more caucuses the next weekend. We had a big showdown in Michigan and now we’ve won six of the last seven events, and I think we have a great shot of winning Wisconsin tomorrow.
So, it’s a long and hard road and, you know, we can look back, it’s a little early for the look back for me. I don’t think you get ahead looking over your shoulder, you really have to focus on the next event. And I think we have a real shot of winning this nomination because Bernie Sanders has the best message and he’s the strongest candidate that we have on the Democratic side.
MITCHELL: It just seems so dissonant coming on the day before a primary where you are poised to win, when you had phenomenal fund raising in March – to signal to all of your supporters with these big rallies and…
MITCHELL: … all the rest of the momentum from your campaign. Why would that come out now?
DEVINE: Well, Andrea, as I said, listen, I first talked to them about this a couple of weeks ago. I think they were determined to write a story that Bernie Sanders had run a tough personal negative campaign he could have defeated Hillary Clinton. There’s only one problem with that, he was never going to run that campaign. That’s not who he is. He doesn’t believe in…
According to Devine, The New York Times wanted to write a story that would bury Bernie Sanders weeks ago. It is plausible that the Times would have this attitude because much of the mainstream media has been trying their best to write off the Democratic contest for weeks. Part of the reason for this attitude is that many in the press have long viewed the Democratic primary as something that they want to get over with. The media has made it clear that they would rather be covering Donald Trump than spending time on Democratic candidates who are discussing the issues.
It is bizarre, but not accidental that a few days before the Wisconsin primary The New York Times publishes a story that writes off Bernie Sanders. Without a viable Bernie Sanders campaign, the Democratic primary will end, and the media can get back to obsessing over Trump. The Bernie Sanders campaign isn’t going to let anyone push them out of the race, and as Devine made clear, they aren’t going to be shoved out by The New York Times.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is 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