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‘The Choice Is Clear’: Sanders Defends Backing Anti-Abortion Mayoral Candidate After Backlash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) responded this morning to the criticism he’s received from liberal organizations over his recent campaigning for an anti-abortion mayoral candidate.

Last week, the former presidential candidate and the Democratic National Committee have come under fire for backing Nebraska state senator Heath Mello, who is running as a Democrat in Omaha’s mayoral race. NARAL has slammed the DNC and Sanders for getting behind Mello, who sponsored a 2009 bill requiring women in his state to be informed of their right to request a fetal ultrasound prior to getting an abortion. Meanwhile, Daily Kos withdrew its support of the candidate.

Face the Nation host John Dickerson asked him about that backlash and the debate within the Democratic Party about cultural versus economic issues. Sanders said, however, there wasn’t “much of a debate about that.”

After noting his own pro-choice record and saying there is a need to stop Republicans from defunding Planned Parenthood, Sanders then defended his decision to attend a rally in Omaha.

“If you have a rally in which you have the labor movement and the environmentalists and Native-Americans and the African-American community and the Latino community coming together saying, ‘We want this guy to become our next mayor,'” Sanders noted. “Should I reject going there to Omaha? I don’t think so.”

The senator added that Mello’s opponent, the incumbent Republican mayor, is also anti-abortion and has invited Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to campaign for her.

“The choice is clear,” Sanders said. “And I hope very much the Democratic candidate there wins.”

During her appearance on Meet the Press today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said one can be a Democrat and pro-life.

Sanders also said during the interview that “the model of the Democratic party is failing.”

Watch the video above, via CBS.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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