Bernie Lied! Hillary Clinton Actually Refused to Call Him Unqualified… Three Times
Democratic presidential candidate and independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has initiated a mass fainting spell among the political media by rattling off a list of reasons why he considers rival candidate and current frontrunner Hillary Clinton “not qualified to be president.” The attack has also galvanized Hillary’s supporters, who have responded with the trending hashtag #HillarySoQualified. Unlike a lot of pundits, I’m not that bothered by the charge, I love a smash-mouth campaign, and if it is indeed to be on like Donkey Kong, Hillary Clinton can handle herself.
What is a problem, though, is that Bernie Sanders launched his attack by first telling a big, fat, insane lie about Hillary. Here’s the full context of Bernie’s remarks, but pay close attention to the first part:
She has been saying, lately, that she thinks that I am quote-unquote “not qualified to be president.”
As Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon noted on Twitter, Hillary never said that, but it’s actually worse than that. Hillary Clinton not only never said that, she actually was aggressively pressed to say that exact thing, three different times in a row, and like some kind of reverse-Apostle Peter, refused each time:
1. Do you believe, this morning, that Bernie Sanders is qualified and ready to be president of the United States?
2. So the question, and I’m serious, if you weren’t running today and you looked at Bernie Sanders, would you say this guy is ready to be president of the United States?
3. But do you think he is qualified?
Now, there are actually some Sanders supporters pointing out, with a straight face, that she also didn’t say he is qualified, or that what she did say wasn’t exactly a compliment, but I’ve got news for you guys: Hillary Clinton is Bernie’s political opponent, it is not her job to compliment him. It also doesn’t change the fact that she did not say what he directly quoted her as saying. That fact, alas, didn’t stop CNN from reporting that she or her campaign had:
It doesn’t look like Sanders is thus far inclined to walk this back, but he may reconsider once he’s seen the interview, which I very much doubt he had when he formulated this attack. If I were a betting man, I’d wager it was campaign manager Jeff Weaver who got Bernie spun up about this without giving him the facts.
I also don’t think this is the disaster that many are making it out to be. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell panel was fretting that this makes party unity impossible now, and everyone’s acting like Bernie was checking out a baby’s tits or something. Simply calling your opponent “unqualified” isn’t wise, but if it’s how you feel, it also isn’t some earth-shattering heresy. Anyone who thinks this can’t be walked back after the nomination obviously doesn’t remember 2008. This will probably help Bernie with the aggrieved and angry voters he’s targeting, but it will hurt him with everyone else, mostly because she didn’t say what he says she said.
As for the Democrats, the lava-hot media heat this will generate will, in my view, be a net benefit, if for no other reason than that it will remind people that there are, in fact, Democrats running for president. And nobody got beat up.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.