Immediately after criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) for digging into his old votes in the Senate, former vice president Joe Biden took aim at votes Sanders took back in the 1990s.
“I find it amazing that we go back and look at statements, most of them taken out of context of 10, 20, 30, 35 years ago. It’s like my going back and pointing out how Bernie voted against the Brady Bill five times while I was trying to get it passed when he was in the House,” Biden said during a Wednesday appearance on Morning Joe. “Or how he voted to protect gun manufacturers as the only group in America you can’t sue.”
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“He’s made up for that,” Biden added.
Morning Joe co-anchor Willie Geist asked Biden about Sanders’s criticism of his record on Social Security. Biden and Sanders have attacked each other over the issue of entitlement spending. Sanders posted a campaign advertisement Tuesday night with a recording of Biden talking on the Senate floor in 1995 about freezing federal spending, including Social Security and other entitlement programs.
“When I argued if we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans’ benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government,” Biden says in the advertisement.
“Well we’ve got some bad news for them,” Sanders tells a crowd in the advertisement. “We are not going to cut Social Security, we’re going to expand benefits.”
Geist asked if Biden would cut Social Security benefits if he was elected president. Biden said he wouldn’t cut benefits and defended his 1995 comments as occurring in the context of an impending government shutdown.
“Did you think these attacks from the Sanders campaign are dishonest?” Geist asked.
“What I don’t want to do is start to characterize them. I accept the apology and I hope we’ll argue on the facts,” Biden said.
Sanders apologized to Biden on Tuesday for an op-ed written by Sanders surrogate Zephyr Teachout alleging that Biden has a “big corruption problem.”
“It looks like ‘Middle Class’ Joe has perfected the art of taking big contributions, then representing his corporate donors at the cost of middle- and working-class Americans,” Teachout wrote.
“It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way. And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared,” Sanders said.
Sanders voted against five versions of the Brady Bill, which mandated waiting periods for background checks on gun purchases, as a representative between 1991 and 1993, two years before Biden’s comments on Social Security.
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