September 27, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders used the exit of their favorite candidate, Scott Walker, to get a shot in at the Koch brothers and their influence over the Republicans. He got in a few whacks at Jeb(!) and his comment that black voters just want a bunch of "free stuff" as well.

Sanders also did a good job at responding to host John Dickerson's "both siderism" when asked what areas the Democrats would be willing to compromise on to get along with Republicans, as though they haven't done way too much of that already.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about another piece of news this week. Scott Walker folded his campaign. You have talked a great deal about the billionaire class that influences politics by giving money to candidates.

The Koch brothers were big fans of Scott Walker's. He had a lot of money in his super PAC. And yet he disappeared from the presidential race. Is that a rebuttal to your argument that big money just totally calls the tune in politics?

SANDERS: I wish it were, and I wish that the Koch brothers would say, well, gee, now we're going to take the $900 million that we planned to spend in this campaign supporting right-wing Republicans, more, by the way, than either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party will spend, and we're not going to spend it.

But, John, I don't think the Koch brothers learned that lesson. I think the power of money over the political process is horrendous. I think that super PACs are a very, very playing destructive role in our political system. And I will do, if president, everything that I can to see that this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision is overturned.

American democracy is not about billionaires buying elections or trying to buy elections.

DICKERSON: You did something politicians don't normally do, which is go into an audience that is not there just to applaud you automatically. You went to Liberty University, a fundamentalist Christian university. And you brought your same message.

One of the things you said was that the audience, you knew you had a disagreement on the question of abortion and on same-sex marriage, but you asked them to put those disagreements aside and focus on the priority, which is the inequities in the economic system.

Would you have the same message for liberals that -- on those issues, that really stop the fighting about those and focus on the big thing, which is the economic inequality?

SANDERS: Well, look, this is what I said at Liberty. And this is what I believe.

I am pro-choice. I have always been pro-choice. I am strongly in favor of gay marriage. And I know that, at Liberty University, people there have honest disagreements with me on that issue.

But what I said, look, at a time when we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, when almost all of the new income and wealth in this country is going to the top 1 percent, when we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on Earth, when many, many millions of Americans are working two or three jobs just to sustain themselves, can we not get together and talk about creating an economy that works for all of us, and not just millionaires and billionaires?

When children go hungry in America, that is a moral issue. When 51 percent of African-American kids are either unemployed or underemployed, that is a moral issue.

And I know that, at Liberty union -- Liberty University, and among the evangelical community, you have some very sincere, honest people who take these issues seriously. And, by the way, many of them are concerned, as Pope Francis is, about climate change, and the need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. They believe that the Earth, created by God, cannot be destroyed by greed.

And my question was, can we work together to address those issues?

DICKERSON: I would like to play something for that you Jeb Bush said out on the campaign trail this week and get your reaction to it.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn't one of division and get in line, and we will take care of with you free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting, that says you can achieve earned success.


DICKERSON: That is a kind of argument that will be used against you if you get the nomination, the idea that you're just -- you're promising health care for all and free college. You're just -- it's a bunch of free stuff. It's unrealistic.

What is your reaction?

SANDERS: Well, let's be clear that what Jeb Bush is proposing are massive tax breaks for the richest people in this country, while he will fight to cut Social Security and Medicare and programs that tens of millions of elderly people and middle class people and working-class people depend upon.

I happen to believe, John, that in a democratic, civilized society, all people should be entitled to health care as a right. Yes, I do believe that. Is this a radical idea? No, it's not. Every other major industrialized country on Earth does the same.

Yes, I believe that it is absurd that, in a highly competitive global economy, we have got hundreds of thousands of bright young people who are qualified to college, but can't because their families lack the income. So, yes, I do believe that public colleges and universities should be tuition-free.

Is this is a radical idea? Well, gee, Germany does it. Other countries around the world do that, because they know investing in their kids is good for their economy. And, by the way, we're going to pay for that by a tax on Wall Street speculation.

Sanders also went onto lay out some of the differences between his and Hillary Clinton's campaign on college tuition, but without resorting to personal attacks on the candidate. Sanders once again vowed his campaign wasn't going to resort to negative advertising, regardless of what gets thrown his way.

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