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February 17, 2016

Nation’s press says Sanders has ‘mountain to climb’

By Kevin O’Connor, VTDigger.org

Vermont’s junior senator may have won New Hampshire presidential primary by 22 points, but “Bernie Sanders’ honeymoon is over,” CNN media reporter Dylan Byers began his story headlined “Sanders braces for a hard look from the press.”

“Now that Sanders promised to take the fight to Hillary Clinton in every region of the country, the Democratic insurgent is poised to face a wave of media scrutiny unlike anything he’s seen so far,” Byers wrote. That didn’t stop Sanders from opening himself to interrogation on three weekend news shows — including his first appearance on “Fox News Sunday” since announcing his campaign.

On Fox, Sanders was asked whether President Barack Obama and the Senate should immediately consider a replacement for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday at age 79.

“I think we want a full contingent,” he replied. “The Constitution is pretty clear. President makes the appointment, Senate confirms. Let’s get on with that business.”

If elected president, Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week,” he’d target the court’s 2010 Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission decision that ruled corporations share the same First Amendment rights as individuals to donate freely to causes.

“I’m not a great fan of litmus tests, but there is one for me,” he told ABC. “I would never nominate anybody to the Supreme Court who is not prepared to overturn that disastrous decision which is allowing millionaires to buy elections and which is undermining American democracy.”

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Sanders dismissed poll numbers showing him trailing Clinton nationally, especially among people of color. “I think we’re going to continue to surprise people,” he said. “I’m right now speaking to you from Denver. Last night we had a rally with close to 20,000 people. I think we’re going to do very well here in Colorado…I think you’re going to see us doing far better across the board.”

In other news

Time reporter Sam Frizell, author of his magazine’s flattering fall cover story on the candidate, offers a more critical take before Nevada’s Democratic caucus Saturday in his story “How Sanders’ Vermont Career Could Hurt Him Nationally.”

“For 35 years, Bernie Sanders has represented a state where there is one dairy cow for every five people. Twice as many licensed wildlife hunters reside in Vermont’s green hills as the national average, and they can openly holster a gun without a special permit. And there are just three people of color for every 97 whites,” wrote Frizell. “His challenge will be convincing Nevadans and South Carolina that he is ready to move out of Vermont.”

For those seeking to help Sanders win African-Americans’ votes, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow cautions white supporters: “Stop Bernie-Splaining to Black Voters.”

“Tucked among all this Bernie-splaining by some supporters, it appears to me, is a not-so-subtle, not-so-innocuous savior syndrome and paternalistic patronage that I find so grossly offensive that it boggles the mind that such language should emanate from the mouths — or keyboards — of supposed progressives,” Blow writes. “This is not to say that Clinton or Sanders is the better choice for Democrats this season, but simply that the way some of Sanders’s supporters have talked down to black voters does him a disservice.”

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman offers his own call for courtesy in a Daily Beast interview with the seemingly record-long subtitle, “The Nobel Laureate says Bernie’s angry white males are baying for his head with the kind of vitriol he usually gets from ‘Rush Limbaugh listeners.’”

“I’m getting a fair bit of seriously abusive mail,” Krugman says of reaction to his recent critiques of the candidate’s proposals.

In response, Sanders spokeswoman Symone Sanders (no relation) tells the Daily Beast: “I do think we’re running a positive campaign and we don’t want our people harassing anyone. People have a right to express their opinion, but they should express their opinion respectfully.”

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