“If anybody thinks I ought to apologize for writing a bestselling ebook, I’m sorry, I’m not going to do it,” Bernie Sanders (pictured) stated. | Matt Rourke/AP Photograph
The Democratic front-runner ventured the place his rivals have not dared, and notched an hour of constructive publicity.
Up to date 04/15/2019 10:08 PM EDT
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Bernie Sanders entered the Fox’s den on Monday evening — and he not solely survived the hour-long encounter, however usually dominated.
Showing at a Fox Information-hosted city corridor smack dab in the midst of Trump Nation, the Democratic presidential front-runner performed the half, swatting down robust questions from the hosts about well being care, protection spending, and his newfound wealth. At one level, the Vermont senator even led the community’s viewers in a call-and-response that discovered them cheering loudly for his insurance policies.
Story Continued Beneath
Within the days previous the occasion, Sanders confronted backlash from liberals who stated he shouldn’t take part given the community’s nativist bent and cheerleading for President Donald Trump. However when it was over, Sanders had acquired an hour of constructive publicity on the highest-rated cable channel — one thing none of his main rivals have but risked.
The city corridor befell in a cultural middle within the shadows of a former metal mill right here, in a county in Pennsylvania that voted for Trump after twice supporting Barack Obama. However the room was full of Sanders supporters, and the Vermont senator fed off the vitality of the group.
POLITICO Playbook e-newsletter
Join right this moment to obtain the #1-rated e-newsletter in politics
By signing up you conform to obtain e mail newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You possibly can unsubscribe at any time.
Nonetheless, the picture of an viewers on Fox Information rallying behind the democratic socialist and his left-wing platform gave Sanders the looks of robust help in an space that was key to the president’s victory in 2016.
For the Sanders marketing campaign, it was a super finish to a four-day swing by way of the economic Midwest that was meant to indicate that he is the presidential candidate finest positioned to beat Trump. Vital numbers of Democratic main voters are extra involved with a candidate’s capability to win than his or her ideology, in response to latest polls.
A number of the tough questions requested by the hosts, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, have been about Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan.
When requested how he would fund this system, Sanders did not shrink back from the truth that many People would pay extra in taxes. However he insisted the “overwhelming majority” would find yourself spending much less cash general as a result of they’d not pay for deductibles or different out-of-pocket prices. He additionally downplayed considerations that folks can be kicked off their insurance coverage, arguing that thousands and thousands already lose their medical insurance after they get fired from or stop their jobs.
His well being care plan, he stated, “offers you freedom of selection.”
One of the crucial shocking moments of the city corridor occurred when Baier requested the members of the viewers to boost their fingers in the event that they acquired medical insurance by way of their employer. Most indicated they did. Then he requested what number of can be keen to change to Sanders‘ plan, and most of the people appeared to boost their fingers once more.
Sanders was additionally quizzed at size about his wealth. A half-hour earlier than the city corridor, he’d launched 10 years’ of his tax returns, which confirmed that he first earned greater than $1 million in annual revenue throughout the 2016 presidential marketing campaign, partially due to proceeds from his books.
Nevertheless, he pushed again strongly towards the implication that it’s hypocritical for him to be a millionaire.
“If anybody thinks I ought to apologize for writing a bestselling ebook, I’m sorry, I’m not going to do it,” he stated, including that he “voted towards Trump’s tax invoice” — an overhaul to the tax system that has been criticized as largely benefiting the rich.
Requested by Baier whether or not his wealth was “the definition of capitalism and the American Dream,“ Sanders stated no, including that he was preventing for “a society not the place a simply few folks could make an entire lot of cash, however a society the place everyone on this nation has the chance to stay in safety and dignity.”
All through the change, Sanders was largely in a position to follow his message when requested about his revenue, charitable giving and private taxes, saying that firms resembling Amazon have been paying nothing in federal taxes and that rich folks ought to contribute extra so as to alleviate poverty.
He parried different questions as properly. When MacCallum stated some would argue Sanders that supported felons‘ having the precise to vote as a result of it benefited him politically, she was booed by the group. “Oh, come on,“ he stated. Requested about those that say that he’s too previous to be president, he shot again, “Nicely, comply with me across the marketing campaign path.”
Sanders was additionally requested by an viewers member how he would problem the concept that “socialism is unhealthy.”
He replied with acquainted speaking factors: “Democratic socialism to me is making a authorities and an economic system and a society which works for all, slightly than simply the highest 1 %. It means ending the absurd inequalities that exist right this moment.”
On the hot-button matter of abortion, Sanders‘ responses prompted an instantaneous rebuke from conservatives on social media. MacCallum requested him whether or not “a lady ought to have the ability to terminate a being pregnant up till the second of start.” He replied: “I believe that that occurs very, very hardly ever, and I believe that is being made right into a political situation. So I believe it’s uncommon, it’s being made right into a political situation. However on the finish of the day, I consider that the choice over abortion belongs to a lady and her doctor, not the federal authorities.“
He drew criticism from some liberals, in the meantime, for remarks he made when questioned in regards to the U.S.-Mexico border. Along with “wise immigration reform,“ he referred to as for “constructing correct amenities“ on the border and “many, many extra judges“ to expedite hearings for migrants.
As Sanders traveled to Rust Belt states that have been important to Trump’s victory this weekend, he referred to as on the president to maintain his vow to working-class People and ditch the brand new NAFTA settlement. If elected, Sanders additionally stated he would deny authorities contracts to firms that outsource jobs to different international locations, resembling Basic Motors.
Sanders had an analogous message all through the Fox Information city corridor. He attacked Trump, arguing that he didn’t maintain his marketing campaign promise to be a distinct form of Republican and keep away from slicing applications resembling Medicare and Medicaid.
Feisty and assured, Sanders ended the engagement by gently ribbing the hosts of the community liberals despise. “Thanks very a lot,” he instructed Baier and MacCallum, “and I hope I wasn’t too arduous on you.”
This text tagged beneath:
Lacking out on the newest scoops? Join POLITICO Playbook and get the newest information, each morning — in your inbox.