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Bernie Sanders Explains How He'd Deal With An Obstructionist Congress

Sen. Bernie Sanders discussed the fact that a president cannot do it alone if we want to see real change in the way our elected representatives respond to the people who put them in office.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked about the latest poll numbers in Iowa, showing him closing to within 7 points of Hillary Clinton, and to give specifics on what specific policy differences there are between himself and the former Secretary of State by CNN's Jake Tapper this Sunday:

SANDERS: I think that the business model of Wall Street is fraud. And I think these guys drove us into the worst economic downturn into the modern history of America. I think they're at it again. I believe that, when you have so few banks with so much power, you have to not only reestablish Glass-Steagall, but you have got to break them up. That is not Hillary Clinton's position. I believe that our trade policies, NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, have been a disaster. I am helping to lead the effort against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That is not Hillary Clinton's position.

I believe, along with Pope Francis and almost all scientists, that climate change is threatening this planet in horrendous ways, and that we have to be aggressive in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel, and defeat, and defeat the Keystone pipeline. That is not Hillary Clinton's position. I believe that, as opposed to my Republican colleagues who want to cut Social Security, I believe we should expand Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income. That's not Hillary Clinton's position.

I believe that we have got to raise the minimum wage over a period of several years to $15 an hour - not Hillary Clinton's position. I voted against the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton voted for it.

When asked by Tapper how he planned to get his agenda passed given the obstructionist Congress that he'd be likely to deal with, Sanders basically responded that a president cannot do this on their own and that he'd take his case to the people.

TAPPER: So, that's a very ambitious agenda you just outlined there. You said this week that the biggest mistake President Obama made was thinking he could negotiate with Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.


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How can you get this very ambitious agenda through, which includes, you didn't mention, an estate tax on those who inherit more than $3.5 million, a trillion dollars spent on infrastructure - how are you going to do that without dealing with Congress?

SANDERS: And that infrastructure program, Jake, would create some 13 million jobs. I will tell you how. I have a lot of - a lot of respect for Barack Obama. He is a friend of mine. The biggest mistake I believe that he made - and I disagree with him on a number of policy issues, but his biggest political mistake is, after his brilliant 2008 political campaign, when he rallied millions of people to stand up and fight back, basically, what he said after he was elected: Well, I will take it from here. I will negotiate with Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Republicans.

Two points. First of all, these guys never had any intention of seriously negotiating. I think the president has caught onto that. But, second of all, the powers that be in Washington, Wall Street, the huge campaign donors, the Koch brothers, are so powerful, that the only way we bring about real change in this country which represents the needs of the middle class and working families is when millions of people stand up and say, enough is enough, they are organized.

And that is what I'm talking about when I speak about a political revolution. No president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do it unless millions of people say, you know what? This country belongs to all of us. Our government must represent all of us, and not just a handful of billionaires. It can't be done within the Beltway itself. We need a mass movement, and that's what we are trying to create, and are succeeding in creating right now.

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