You’ve just had a disastrous meeting with a major newspaper’s editorial board.
They posted the entire transcript online. Media types and politicos (including AmericaBlog’s founder, Aravosis) are saying the interview is proof that you’re not qualified to be the next President of the United States. How do you respond?
Well, if you’re Senator Sanders you respond by calling the most experienced candidate running not qualified. From POLITICO:
“Well let me, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton: I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds,” he said. “I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.”
Sanders then pivoted to her record on foreign policy, saying, “I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don’t think you are qualified if you’ve supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement, which has cost us millions of decent paying jobs. I don’t think you are qualified if you supported the Panama free trade agreement, something I very strongly opposed and which, as all of you know, has allowed corporations and wealthy people all over the world to avoid paying their taxes to their countries.”
The thing is, Bernie Sanders made the comments because he thinks, incorrectly, that Hillary Clinton said “he’s” not qualified to be president. In fact, she said no such thing. Lots of journalists weighed in on this mistake last night, including independent fact-checker Politifact. What happened was that the Washington Post, taking the lead, followed by CNN, claimed that Hillary had said Bernie wasn’t qualified — but then when you looked at the quotes, she said no such thing.
In fact, Sanders today seemed to recognize his mistake. At a press conference this morning, Sanders blamed the snafu on the Washington Post’s misleading headline.
Hillary, today, responded to the Sanders criticism by saying she’d support him in the general if he’s the candidate. That’s presidential.
Sanders needs to apologize. ASAP. He also needs a reality check. As does anyone who thinks this line of attack will be helpful to him. There are ways to attack Clinton on her weak points. Questioning her qualifications is not the way.
What’s more, if he doesn’t walk back this line of attack, it makes it tougher for him to endorse her later when he is inevitably (yes, inevitably) forced to concede.
And finally, none of this makes Sanders look any more qualified. It does, however, make him seem out of touch with reality.