Bernie Sanders Says He's Democrats' Most Electable Presidential Candidate

The Vermont senator was interviewed on "This Week."

ByABC News
January 10, 2016, 11:57 AM

— -- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said polls show he’s Democrats’ most electable 2016 candidate and that he’s “gaining steam” ahead of the fast-approaching Iowa caucuses.

“If people are concerned about electability -- and Democrats should be very concerned because we certainly don’t want to see some right-wing extremist in the White House -- Bernie Sanders is the candidate,” Sanders told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday.

Sanders cited a Quinnipiac Poll released last month showing he fares better than his main Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton against Republican front-runner Donald Trump. The poll shows Sanders beating Trump by 13 points, compared to Clinton’s smaller margin of 7 points.

Sanders said the poll should reassure voters who have expressed concerns about the 74-year-old senator’s age and the fact that he describes himself as a democratic socialist.

“For a start, I would urge those voters, the voters all over this country, to take a look at recent polls in which Bernie Sanders is matched with Republican candidates Trump on down [and] Hillary Clinton is matched with Republican candidates,” he said.

Now, three weeks from the Iowa caucuses, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows Sanders almost neck-and-neck with Clinton in early voting states. In Iowa, Clinton leads Sanders by three points with 48 percent support from likely caucus-goers, but trails him among likely primary voters in New Hampshire 50-46 percent.

“I think we're gaining steam here in Iowa,” Sanders said. “I think we have an excellent chance to win here.”

After both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns traded barbs over gun control this week, the Vermont senator reiterated he would be willing to revise a 2005 bill he voted for that shields certain gun manufacturers from liability for misuse of their firearms.

“I am absolutely willing -- as I've said for many, many weeks, if not months -- to take another look at that piece of legislation,” Sanders said.