Sanders Passes on Opportunity to Criticize Biden's Mental Acuity

By Susan Jones | March 10, 2020 | 5:39am EDT
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders share the stage at one of the Democrat primary debates.(Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders share the stage at one of the Democrat primary debates.(Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

( - "Some of Joe Biden's answers don't make sense," a woman named Nina told Sen. Bernie Sanders Monday evening at a Fox News town hall. "Do you think it's acceptable (for) a presidential candidate to respond to questions like Joe Biden does?" Nina asked Sanders as the audience laughed.

"Let me just say this," Sanders responded:

You know, Joe Biden is a friend of mine. I have known him for many, many years.

When we do our events and our rallies, we try to give -- we respect people, in the sense that we give really substantive -- these guys will think maybe too-long-winde -- answers. But we take people -- there are real crises facing this country.

When I give a speech, often, it's 45 minutes or an hour, OK, because there are a lot of challenges that the country faces. And I have got to talk about them.

I think Joe was somewhere in -- where was he? I don't know, Michigan or someplace else the other day, and he spoke for seven minutes. I don't know how you say anything, other than minimal discussion in seven minutes.

So, all that I have always believed is that, if we believe in democracy, a candidate has got to be honest with the people about what he or she believes, given the many, many challenges facing our country.

And when you do that, when you are honest and you look at the hard issues, and you are going to take on the fossil fuel industry or Wall Street or the drug companies, it brings forth opposition. I know that. I get beaten up every day. That's fine. That's what I do.

But all I would say is, I'm not here to criticize Joe, but to say that I think the American people in this incredibly complicated and difficult moment in our history, are entitled to thoughtful answers to the crises we face.

(The audience cheered and applauded Sanders' response.)

Host Martha MacCallum asked Sanders to explain his observation that Biden spoke for only seven minutes at a recent campaign stop. "Are you suggesting that he lacks substance?" she asked.

"No, I didn't -- well, I'm just saying, look, I'm here. We are talking about real issues, all right?" Sanders said. "And we can go on for three hours talking about them."

If I'm going to give a speech to people -- and that was at a rally or an event that he held -- I can't do it in seven minutes. You know, there are too many issues. There is healthcare, education, climate change, immigration reform, criminal justice reform. I don't know how you do that in seven minutes.

So, all that I'm saying, Martha, is that I think, as a candidate for president, you owe respect to the people. And you have to have the courage or the desire to say, hey, this is what -- where I'm coming from. This is my view.

You disagree with me, fine. But I can't do that in seven minutes in a speech.

Host Bret Baier noted that even some Democrats and liberal cable hosts have questioned Biden's mental acuity. Fox News played video clips of the criticism, then Baier asked Sanders for his thoughts:

"I'm not going to go at that level in attacking," Sanders said:

Joe and I have -- you know, that's for people to decide. All I can say is, Joe and I have very significant political differences. And I'm not going to be making, you know, personal attacks on Joe." (More applause)

But, Bret and Martha, I think, as you know, we have -- Joe has been in the Senate and I have been in the Senate and the House for a long time.

Joe voted for the war in Iraq. I led the opposition against the war. Joe voted for the Wall Street bailout. I voted against it. Joe has been on the floor of the House over the years talking about the need to cut Social Security veteran's programs, other veteran -- other programs. I have led the opposition to those cuts.

Joe's views on women's issues -- Joe has supported the Hyde Amendment, which would deny low-income women to use Medicaid funds for their own reproductive needs. I strongly disagree with that approach.

So, on issue after issue, even in terms of how we raise funds for our campaign, Joe has the support of 60, at least 60 billionaires funding his campaign.


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