5 Times a Bernie Sanders Surrogate Has Gotten Him in Trouble

The Sanders campaign has apologized for shocking comments from surrogates.

April 14, 2016, 12:20 PM

— -- The Bernie Sanders campaign has apologized for comments from yet another one its surrogates, tweeting that a "corporate Democratic whores" reference by a pro-Sanders advocate was “inappropriate and insensitive.”

Health care activist Dr. Paul Song spoke as part of the early pre-program at Sanders’ high-profile event in Washington Square Park Wednesday night. He came under fire for saying, “Medicare for all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic whores who are beholden to big pharma and the private insurance industry instead of us.”

He later apologized on Twitter.

Song was not the first Sanders surrogate to put his foot in his mouth. Over the course of his campaign, several of the Vermont senator’s backers have gone off message or delivered comments others have found offensive, and many of these controversial comments seem to reflect heightened sexual and gender-specific rhetoric.


"I don't vote with my vagina."

The actress and leftist activist who has been one of Sanders’ most visible surrogates actually said this a few times, including at a fundraising concert for the senator in New York in January and on Twitter a month later.

When Sarandon got pushback on Twitter, she forwarded along tweets from Clinton’s supporters that she thought backed up her claim. The Sanders’ campaign took down a video it had on its YouTube page of the January New York event.


"A uterus doesn't qualify you to be president of the United States."

The line caused swift and immediate backlash for the campaign, though it was only part of a larger quote. Speaking to a rally in his hometown of Atlanta in February, the rapper said:

“When people tell us, hold on, wait a while -- and that’s what the other Democrat is telling you -- 'Hold on, Black Lives Matter, just wait a while. Hold on, young people in this country, just wait a while.' And then she get good, she have your own momma come to you, your momma sit down and say, 'Well you’re a woman.’ But I talked to Jane Elliott a few weeks ago, and Jane said, 'Michael, a uterus doesn't qualify you to be president of the United States. You have to have policies that's reflective of social justice.'”

The Sanders’ campaign said the comment was inappropriate at the time but has welcomed the musician back to future events.


"Winning South Carolina in the Democratic primary is about as significant as winning Guam."

At an event in Wisconsin this month, the actor (and Sarandon’s former partner) raised many eyebrows when he dismissed a southern state where Clinton trounced Sanders by a margin greater than the population of Guam. That said, the comment also drew criticism from those who hail from the U.S. territory, including the former first lady of Guam.

"No Democrat is going to win in the general election. Why do these victories have so much significance?" Robbins said.


"[Clinton] is under FBI investigation…is about to be interviewed."

Dawson’s comments ruffled feathers, to say the least, in part because Sanders himself has steered clear of the email issue. The senator’s own fans noted on social media that the actress’s statement at a rally in the Bronx earlier this month did not seem on message with the campaign.

When Sanders was asked about Dawson’s comments on CNN, he said, “We have many, many surrogates who say many, many things. Many of these surrogates do not agree with everything I say. And I do not agree with every approach and everything that they say. And that's the simple reality.”

Clinton has repeatedly said that she has not been contacted by the FBI about possible interviews, but also that she is willing to answer any questions about her email use as secretary of state.

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