February 21st, 2016
01:02 PM ET

Sanders on Clinton calling him a single issue candidate: “I haven't the vaguest idea what she's talking about."

SOTUToday on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Democratic presidential candidate, joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss the results of the Nevada Democratic caucus, looks ahead to Super Tuesday, and much more.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com ; or Brooke Lorenz – Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

 

CNN Politics Story: Sanders brushes off Nevada loss

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Sen. Bernie Sanders on State of the Union: Full Interview

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Sanders on Clinton calling him a single issue candidate: “I haven't the vaguest idea what she's talking about.  If she thinks that income and wealth inequality, and the fact that the rich get richer while everybody else gets poorer is the only issue, it's not… Now, one of the things that we're up against right now, Jake, is that Hillary Clinton's super PAC, funded by Wall Street and other powerful special interests, are going to pour a lot of money into this election against us.”

Sanders on his brother’s interview with The Daily Beast: [TAPPER]: “Your brother, Larry Sanders, gave an interview to The Daily Beast this week and he said that Bill Clinton was a, quote, dreadful president, in general, for poor people.  Do you agree?”

[SANDERS]: “Look, I read that interview.  My brother lives in England.  He is not part of our campaign.  I disagree with what he said.  He speaks for himself, not for me or my campaign.”

Sanders on the possibility of Sri Srinivasan being nominated to the Supreme Court: [SANDERS]: “Well, to be honest with you, I have not studied his record.  And it's something that I certainly want to look at.  So I really - to be honest with you, Jake, just can't comment on that right now.”

[TAPPER]: “Do you think that the senate should be able to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee?”

[SANDERS]: “The idea that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are in the senate are trying to deny the president his constitutional right to appoint Supreme Court justices is really an outrage.  And it is an outrage because these guys - Republicans, they love the constitution.  They talk about the constitution day after day after day.  Except, I guess, when you have a Democratic president who is doing his constitutional duty and nominating a Supreme Court justice.”

Sanders looks ahead to Super Tuesday: “I think we are going to do well in states like Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, last poll I saw had us at 80 percent of the vote in Vermont.  I think we're going to do well there.  And I think we'll do well in some other states as well. After that, we're going to fight hard for Michigan, Kansas.  There are states out there that I think we have a real shot to win in. And by the way, Jake, as you know - and I hope many of the viewers know, these state-by-state primary and caucuses are proportional. For example, we lost in Nevada which meant Hillary Clinton got 19 delegates, we got 15 delegates.  It's not all or nothing.  But I hope that in the coming weeks we start winning some big states and start collecting a lot of delegates.”


FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And Senator Bernie Sanders joins us now.  Senator, thanks so much for joining us.  The big question coming into Nevada was whether you could do well with non-white voters.  And you seemed to do well with Latinos, but Hillary Clinton, to be frank, cleaned your clock with African-American voters.  Is that a concern going into South Carolina, where they are a majority of the Democratic electorate?

 

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, it is a concern, Jake.

 

But let's remember this, four or five weeks ago if I was on your show, you would have noted that I was 25 points behind in the polls in Nevada.  We ended up losing by five or six points.  I believe we won the Latino vote, which is a huge, huge way forward for us.  We did badly with the African-American vote.

 

But I think more the African-American community hears our message on a broken criminal justice system, which has more people in jail today than any other country on Earth, largely African-American, Latino, when they hear our message about the need for a real - for an economy that represents all of us, not just the 1 percent, I think you're going to see us making progress there as well.

 

TAPPER;  I don't know if you heard, but earlier in the show Hillary Clinton disputed the idea that she didn't win the Latino vote.  She said that's not according to their analysis of the numbers.

 

SANDERS:  Well, that is according - who knows, the answer is.  But according to analyses that I have seen, that is the case.  And nationally, it is clear that we are doing better and better with Latino voters.

 

We started way, way down and now we're doing much better.

 

And look, here's the other truth.  The truth is that for a campaign that started off as a fringe campaign at 3 percent in the polls, we have enormous momentum.  You have noticed that one of the recent national polls actually had us ahead of Hillary Clinton in state after state.  Her margin is narrowing.

 

So I think people are responding to our message of a rigged economy where ordinary Americans work longer hours for lower wages and almost all new income and wealth goes to the top 1 percent, a corrupt campaign finance system in which billionaires are buying elections.

 

I think our message is resonating.  And obviously, the proof of is that Hillary Clinton is more or less echoing much f what we are saying.  I think that indicates the success that we are having.

 

TAPPER:  For the record, sir, as you know, we never considered you a fringe candidate.  But let's move on.

 

Hillary Clinton has been referring to you as a single - you know that, sir.  Hillary Clinton has been referring to you as a single-issue candidate.  What do you think when she says that?

 

SANDERS:  I haven't the vaguest idea what she's talking about.  If she thinks that income and wealth inequality, and the fact that the rich get richer while everybody else gets poorer is the only issue, it's not.  We're the only major country on Earth that doesn't have national health care system, guaranteeing health care to all people, talk about that.  We need to have free tuition at public colleges and universities so that our kids today can do well in a global economy.  We need to have the wealthiest people and largest corporation pay their fair share of taxes.  We're working very hard to transform our energy system so we effectively combat a climate change.  We are talking about dozens of issues.  So I'm not quite sure where Secretary Clinton is coming from.

 

But what I will repeat is I think we have got to address this real crisis of a corrupt campaign finance system in which billionaires and their super PACs are trying to buy elections.

 

Now, one of the things that we're up against right now, Jake, is that Hillary Clinton's super PAC, funded by Wall Street and other powerful special interests, are going to pour a lot of money into this election against us.  We rely on individual contributions, 27 bucks apiece.  You're seeing the impact of billionaire and Wall Street super PACs on an election.  That has got is to change.  We have to overturn this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

 

TAPPER:  In your concession speech last night you said, now it's on to Super Tuesday, 11 states will have Democratic contests on March 1st.  Which of those states do you expect to win?

 

SANDERS:  I think we are going to do well in states like Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, last poll I saw had us at 80 percent of the vote in Vermont.  I think we're going to do well there.  And I think we'll do well in some other states as well.

 

After that, we're going to fight hard for Michigan, Kansas.  There are states out there that I think we have a real shot to win in.

 

And by the way, Jake, as you know - and I hope many of the viewers know, these state-by-state primary and caucuses are proportional. For example, we lost in Nevada which meant Hillary Clinton got 19 delegates, we got 15 delegates.  It's not all or nothing.  But I hope that in the coming weeks we start winning some big states and start collecting a lot of delegates.

 

TAPPER:  Your brother, Larry Sanders, gave an interview to The Daily Beast this week and he said that Bill Clinton was a, quote, dreadful president, in general, for poor people.  Do you agree?

 

SANDERS:  Look, I read that interview.  My brother lives in England.  He is not part of our campaign.  I disagree with what he said.  He speaks for himself, not for me or my campaign.

 

TAPPER:  Fair enough.

 

I disagree with my brother on a lot of things, too, although I love him dearly as I'm sure you do yours.

 

SANDERS:  Me, too.  I love my brother.  He's - yeah.

 

TAPPER:  Let's turn to the Supreme Court.  One possible contender to replace Justice Scalia that the Obama administration is discussing is judge Sri Srinivasan whose past clients include Exxon Mobil, as well as former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling.  Do you think this background of judge - of Mr. Srinivasan should be of concern to progressives?

 

SANDERS:  Well, to be honest with you, I have not studied his record.  And it's something that I certainly want to look at.  So I really - to be honest with you, Jake, just can't comment on that right now.

 

TAPPER:  Do you think that the senate should be able to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee?

 

SANDERS:  Look, Jake, this is something that is very troubling to me, and I think to the American people.  This is not, you know, an issue that needs a lot of debate.  The constitution of the United States is extremely clear.  President of the United States has the right to nominate candidates, justices, to the United States Senate.  No one debates that.

 

The idea that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are in the senate are trying to deny the president his constitutional right to appoint Supreme Court justices is really an outrage.  And it is an outrage because these guys - Republicans, they love the constitution.  They talk about the constitution day after day after day.  Except, I guess, when you have a Democratic president who is doing his constitutional duty and nominating a Supreme Court justice.

 

So, I hope very much that the American people are loud and clear and say to the Republicans, let the president, the president must have the right to do what the constitutional mandates.

 

TAPPER:  Quickly, sir, The Chicago Tribune uncovered a photograph this week of you being arrested during the civil rights era.  What do you remember from that day?

 

SANDERS:  I remember it pretty well.

 

I remember being arrested.  This had to do with opposition to segregated schools in Chicago.  I mean, I remember very clearly being arrested, being thrown into a police wagon and driven to the police station.  It was an interesting day.

 

TAPPER:  All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, good luck in South Carolina.  We will see you on the campaign trail, sir.

 

SANDERS:  Thank you very much, Jake.

 

 

###END INTERVIEW###

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