Bernie Sanders Goes Out Of Character, Turns On The Attack
By Gloria Christie on October 25, 2015
The battle has begun. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is sharpening criticism of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, especially after she accused him of gender bias Saturday in Iowa. Although Clinton did not mention Sanders by name, her target was clear:
“I’ve been told to stop shouting about guns. Actually I haven’t been shouting, but sometimes when a woman talks, some people think it’s shouting!”
Sanders, a long-time supporter of women’s issues, disputed Clinton’s implication that he was talking about gender when CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State Of The Union,” raised the issue:
“What can I say — that’s just not the case. All that I can say is I am very proud of my record on women’s issues. I certainly do not have a problem with women speaking out — and I think what the secretary [Clinton] is doing there is taking words and misapplying them.
“What I would say is if we are going to make some progress in dealing with these horrific [shooting] massacres that we’re seeing, is that people have got to start all over this country talking to each other. You have some people who are shouting at other people all across this country. You know that. This nation is divided on this issue.”
Sanders has decided to take on Clinton for her prior support of the “Defense Of Marriage Act,” the one-man-one-woman marriage law, which he opposed. Her husband, Bill Clinton, signed the law in 1996, when he was president. Sanders contends that the measure was “homophobic:”
“I think everybody at the time knew that it was simply homophobic legislation. That legislation was anti-gay legislation. It was playing off the fears of a lot of Americans. Now the good news — as Hillary Clinton just indicated — the culture has changed radically. … We have come a long, long way since that vote in 1996.”
Hillary Clinton responded to Sanders:
“I think what my husband believed — and there was certainly evidence to support it — is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that there had to be some way to stop that.”
Sanders’ record on women’s issues is long-standing. On his senatorial site, he shows he:
- Urged the Supreme Court to provide women with access to preventive health care (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby)
- Strongly supported women suffering pay discrimination having the ability to sue (the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964)
- Cosponsored a bill against employers paying on the basis of gender, not qualifications (the Paycheck Fairness Act)
- Cosponsored a bill requiring employers to provide employee health benefits (the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014)
- Supports a bill requiring pharmacists provide birth control (the Access to Birth Control Act)
- Supports a bill for all women with military healthcare to receive contraception and family planning counseling (the Access to Contraception for Women service members and Dependents Act of 2014).
Sanders points to the energy and excitement behind his campaign:
“We are going to prove the experts wrong because we are going to win this campaign. And by the way, just to remember, about eight years ago — all of the political experts talked about how another Democratic candidate for president just could not win. He was unelectable. Remember that guy? Oh, it is President Obama. Well, Iowa, I think we are going to prove the pundits wrong again. I believe we’re going to make history one more time.”
Clearly, Bernie Sanders has no trouble competing. He just won’t play dirty.