The quote of the day has to be Bernie Sanders saying “I disagree with Hillary Clinton on virtually everything,” in an interview with the The Boston Globe. However, as I will get to below, looking back at old statements from Hillary Clinton on gun control, her views were quite similar to views expressed by Sanders, making her attacks on Sanders look rather calculating and hypocritical.
The interview in The Boston Globe continues Sanders’ harder line against Clinton seen the last several days:
His more aggressive posture toward Clinton is part of his strategy to draw clearer distinctions between his liberal record and her shifts on major issues including gay rights, the environment, and trade.
“I disagree with Hillary Clinton on virtually everything,” said Sanders during a meeting with the Boston Globe’s editorial board. “What is important is to look at is the record, the track record that Hillary Clinton has had for her long and distinguished career as a public figure.”
Sanders said he was “delighted” that Clinton, the former secretary of state, recently said she opposes the mammoth trans-pacific trade deal. But he noted that she remained silent earlier this year when liberals were trying to find the votes needed to help block legislation.
He also pointed to her recent decision to oppose the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an issue that was being studied by the State Department when she was in charge of it.
“How many years do you have to think about whether or not we excavate and transport the dirtiest fuel in the world?” he said. “It didn’t take me too long to think about that.”
During the meeting at the Globe, Sanders pushed back on the notion that he inoculated Clinton to criticism over her use of private server during the first Democratic debate when he said “enough about your damn emails.”
“I didn’t let her off the hook,” Sanders said. “There is a process going on in this country. There is an investigation. The FBI is doing what it is doing.”
He added: “Whatever happens with the email thing will happen. I don’t know. I’m not an expert. Let it take place.”
…During his discussion with The Globe, he cited multiple examples of issues where has tried to defend the middle class by on taking powerful interests and casting unpopular votes.
They included his votes against both wars in Iraq, his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“You asked me about the differences between Hillary Clinton and myself? I have taken tough votes throughout my entire life,” Sanders said. Later he circled back to the idea: “You are looking at a guy who cast difficult votes.”
During the interview, Sanders conceded that he did not do enough to beat back the false charges of sexism and racism from Clinton which I discussed yesterday.
The interview also turned to Sanders’ record on gun control, which Clinton has distorted while campaigning. The article does point out parts of his record which his critics ignore:
He has voted to ban military-type assault weapons, said he wants buyers at gun shows to submit to background checks, and said that he wants to do more to prevent so-called straw purchases, in which a person prohibited from buying a gun legally circumvents federal background checks.
As I have discussed in a previous post, despite claims that Sanders is pro-guns, the NRA has in various years given him grades of F and D- on gun control measures which he has supported, including bans on assault weapons, restrictions on concealed weapons, ending the “gun-show loophole,” and expanded background checks, plus opposing shortening waiting periods. This is what he said when interviewed by Diane Rehm:
Well, I come from a state which has virtually no gun control. And in Vermont, guns are seen as something people use for hunting, target shooting, antique gun shows. But I realize, and Vermont has realized, that guns in Detroit and Los Angeles are used to shoot at police officers and to commit terrible crimes. So, I believe that we have to do everything we can to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them. Period.
Sanders’ views on guns don’t sound all that much different from Hillary Clinton’s views in 2008, except that both of them are stressing the issue more now than in the past due to the increase in high-profile gun violence. Listen to these excerpts from a Democratic presidential debate on April 16, 2008:
I’m not sure why the caption on the You Tube video refers to her as “Lady Clinton” but this is the only clip I could find which contains the pertinent portions on gun control. Notice how evasive she is, how she flip-flopped on the issue, and how she raised the same ideas which she attacks Bernie Sanders for. Rather than specifically discussing Vermont as Sanders has, Clinton noted how the situation in New York City is different from Montana or outstate New York. The transcript from this portion of the debate (including portions cut from the video) is under the fold.