-- Bernie Sanders told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Hillary Clinton was “absolutely correct” when she said many of his supporters were living in their parents’ basements and struggling to find jobs.
“During the campaign we had our differences, but what she was saying there was absolutely correct,” Sanders said during an interview Sunday morning in response to the newly leaked audio of Clinton talking about his supporters during a private fundraiser in February.
“You have millions of young people, many of whom took out loans in order to go to college, hoping to go out and get decent-paying jobs, and they are unable to do that,” said Sanders, who endorsed Clinton two months ago. “And yes, they do want a political revolution. They want to transform this society.”
The interview on ABC’s “This Week” was Sanders’ first response to the audio, which was trending on social media over the weekend, although some of his staff had taken to Twitter to defend Clinton.
Clinton’s remarks came during a fundraiser at the home of former Ambassador Beatrice Welters, and the audio was released by the conservative publication The Washington Free Beacon on Friday night.
“They’re children of the Great Recession, and they are living in their parents’ basement. They feel that they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves, and they don’t see much of a future,” Clinton said in the audio.
“If you’re feeling that you’re consigned to being a barista or some other job that doesn’t pay a lot and doesn’t have much of a ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing,” she continued. “So I think we all should be really understanding of that, and we should try to do the best we can not to be a wet blanket on idealism.”
Donald Trump’s campaign jumped on her comments, using it to make an appeal to Sanders fans.
“Crooked H is nasty to Sanders supporters behind closed doors. Owned by Wall St and Politicians, HRC is not with you,” Trump tweeted Saturday.
Sanders said he took Clinton’s words “exactly the opposite way.”
Clinton’s campaign yesterday emphasized to reporters that she has worked with Sanders since the primaries ended. He has been campaigning on her behalf in battleground states.
“As Hillary Clinton said in those remarks, she wants young people to be idealistic and set big goals,” Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin said in a statement yesterday. “She is fighting for exactly what the millennial generation cares most about — a fairer, more equal, just world. She’s working to create new pathways to jobs and career opportunities, to build more inclusivity and community and to ensure everyone gets a fair shot.”
Many Sanders supporters, particularly college-age and other young voters, say they do not plan to vote for Clinton and are backing third-party candidates, according to recent polling.
Sanders said that he was not going to tell people how to vote but that Clinton’s policy proposals on climate change, equal pay and other issues were by far the closest to his among the candidates.
“Take a look at issue by issue,” he said. “Clinton has a serious plan in order to transform our energy system … Take a look at [Libertarian Party candidate] Gary Johnson’s record on the environment, on the economy. It is a very conservative approach, something I think most of my supporters do not support.”
Sanders, asked if he agreed with a recent statement by President Obama that a vote for a third-party candidate would be a vote for Trump, said, “The evidence is overwhelming that the next president of the United States is going to be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, and if you are voting for someone else and not supporting Hillary Clinton because, in a sense, she doesn’t live up to all of your specifications or ideas, I think it is, in a sense, a vote for Trump.”