Bernie Sanders

Interview with John Dickerson of CBS News' "Face the Nation"

April 17, 2016

DICKERSON: Turning now to the race for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton spent most of her weekend in California. Our Battleground Tracker has her up there by 12 points over Bernie Sanders 52 to 40 percent. And in her adopted home state of New York, she holds on to her 10-point lead; 53 percent of Democratic primary voters say they will support her and 43 percent are going for Bernie Sanders.

As for Bernie Sanders' weekend, he is back from his trip to the Vatican, where he met briefly with Pope Francis.

And he joins you us now from New York.

Welcome, Senator.

What has happened to the Democratic race there? "The New York Times" described you having a ferocious performance in the debate this week.

SANDERS: Ferocious, I'm not quite sure what that word means.

I think what has happened is that I have become a little bit tired of being beaten up by the negativity of the Clinton campaign. And we're responding in kind. Look, the differences that we have in how we raise money, she has super PACs and raises whole lot of money from Wall Street and other powerful special interests.

She is $12 minimum wage. That's not good enough. I am for $15-an-hour minimum wage. Her views on foreign policy, whether it's the war in Iraq, Libya, Syria, are very different than mine. Our views on fracking, whether or not we will have clean water in the United States of America and around the world, are very different than mine.

So, I think what we are doing, at least I am doing, is making it's very clear that my views are out there, representing the needs of working families, the middle class. And I am prepared to take on powerful special interests. I don't...[crosstalk]

DICKERSON: What negativity has got you so irritated from Hillary Clinton?

SANDERS: Oh, you name it.

She came into -- after we had won eight out of nine caucuses and primaries, I think they made it very clear that what their goal was -- and I think I quote appropriately here -- disqualify, defeat and then reunite the party later on. They have gone after us in every single area in a way that just misrepresents my views, the idea that they have said in the past that I attack Planned Parenthood, when I regard Planned Parenthood, for example, as one of the great organizations in this country. I want to expand funding for Planned Parenthood.

But on and on it goes. But I think what you are seeing now is the real differences of opinion between Secretary Clinton and myself. And probably most significantly is we raised seven million individual campaign contributions, more than any candidate in American history at this point, averaging $27.

She is out there raising money from the wealthy and the powerful, and I think you can judge a candidate based on how you raise money and who you ultimately become dependent upon.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about that. In the debate, you were asked to name an example where the money she raised from Wall Street had influenced her, and you didn't offer an example. She said that proved the attack was phony.

SANDERS: Well, first of all, I did offer an example.

But, second of all, let me offer another one now. She voted for a bad bankruptcy piece of legislation which benefited Wall Street, at the expense of the hard-pressed consumers in this country. That's an example.

But you never can say, John, just because you vote for something, that that was caused by something else.[crosstalk]

DICKERSON: But isn't that the implication of what you're offering in the critique of her? Isn't that kind of what you're saying?


The broader critique is, after Wall Street's greed and illegal behavior destroyed our economy and drove us into a major recession, in my view, the proper response, and the response of many economists and many Americans, is, look, these people are running a fraudulent operation.

We can't trust them. They have too much wealth, they have too much power, too much concentration of ownership. The proper response, my view then, my view today, is break them up. That is not Hillary Clinton's response. That is the best example, but bankruptcy legislation is another piece of legislation where she was on the wrong side of the issue.

DICKERSON: You have also tied her -- the money she takes to her position on the minimum wage with a tough ad in which you mentioned the $200,000 speech fees that she gets and then that she doesn't support the $15 national minimum wage.

Aren't you kind of fuzzing up what is an economic policy dispute you have with her and making it seem like she's just being stingy?

SANDERS: No, it's not a question of being stingy.

It is, look, if you can go before Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley end up after an hour's work or 20 minutes' work with a $250,000 check, and that is your life, and then refuse to support the fight for $15, the need to have a $15-an-hour national minimum wage, I think you are living in world far removed from where working people are.

The truth is the minimum wage today is a starvation wage; $12 an hour for you is not enough. The American people in state after state now are moving to 15 bucks an hour. She's behind the curve.

DICKERSON: But you are suggesting, Senator...

SANDERS: And all I'm saying is, maybe if you make $225 in an hour, you maybe don't know what it's like to live on 10 bucks minimum wage, 10 bucks an hour.

DICKERSON: On the crime bill, there has been a lot of discussed of the -- discussion of the 1994 crime bill, which you voted for, which she supported. Do you regret your support for that crime bill now, in retrospect?

SANDERS: Look, that bill -- whenever you have a piece of legislation that has -- it's a big bill and lot of stuff in it, it has the Violence Against Women Act, and I -- during my tenure as mayor of Burlington worked very hard against domestic violence and had the ban on assault weapons, something that I believe in fervently -- I believed back in 1988 when I ran for office, believed it on that vote.

But there is no debate that that legislation has resulted in massive incarceration, that we today have more people in jail than any other country, that we have a broken criminal justice system. And I am leading the effort now to make certain that we have very strong reforms of the criminal justice system right now.

People are in jail who should not be in jail. We have to prevent people from going into jail. We need a parole system. We need to end the so-called war on drugs, which has resulted in a disproportionate number of African-Americans being arrested. There's an enormous amount of work that has to be done now to address the crisis in criminal justice.

DICKERSON: Now a quick political question here at the end.

Donald Trump says the Democratic nomination is stacked against you because of the superdelegates. Do you agree?

SANDERS: Well, it's not only that.

I will tell you, the answer is, yes, that we -- Hillary Clinton is the candidate of the establishment. And she has many, many times more superdelegates than we have. But I will tell you something that also is of concern to me. We're going to go -- we're going into Tuesday here. We're fighting hard. I think we have real shot to win on Tuesday if there is a large voter turnout.

But even here in New York state, you have a voting system which makes it impossible for independents to participate in the Democratic primary, that makes it impossible for people to register on the day of the election, which many states do, which is going to result in a lower voter turnout than I would like to see.

But at the end of the day, because we are defeating Trump by much larger numbers than is Secretary Clinton, in poll after poll, national polls and in state polls, I think lot of these superdelegates are going to conclude that Bernie Sanders is the candidate to prevent what must not be allowed to happen. And that is Donald Trump becoming president of the United States.

DICKERSON: All right, Bernie Sanders, thanks so much for being with us.

SANDERS: Thank you.

Bernie Sanders, Interview with John Dickerson of CBS News' "Face the Nation" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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