Fresh off his disastrous fifth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, former Vice President Joe Biden took aim Sunday at the current frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, saying Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has “never gotten anything done” on health care.
During an interview with Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd, Biden pushed back on what he felt were “misrepresentations” of his policy positions and views.
“The ideas I have, Chuck, are big and bold,” Biden declared. “I mean this idea that I’m not the progressive in the race. I mean, my lord, if I get elected president of the United States with my position on health care, my position on global warming, my position on foreign policy, my position on the middle class, this will go down as one of the most progressive administrations in American history.”
Biden then turned his attention on Medicare for All, which Sanders is advocating for, calling it an “almost fanciful” policy that would cost taxpayers tens of trillions of dollars.
“Even Bernie is now saying how much is it going to cost?” Biden exclaimed. “‘Who knows, we’ll find out.’ I think that’s the phrase he used. ‘Well we don’t know.’ Part of being president is not just the idea you have—can you get it done? Have you ever done anything big? Have you ever been able to put together coalitions that bring along Republicans and all the Democrats to get things done? And the idea — I mean it’s almost fanciful sometimes.”
Todd, meanwhile, suggested this was “Bernie’s strength”—that voters know where he stands and who he is.
“And he’s never gotten anything done,” the ex-veep interjected.
“No, I get it,” the NBC News host noted.
“He’s been talking about health care, Medicare for All, universal health care for 35 years,” Biden continued. “Nothing has happened. I helped get passed Obamacare. I helped move it forward. I got the votes. I’m in a position where I take something I promise you I’ll get done.”
He went on to further blast Sanders’ health care proposal, saying it would require Americans to give up their private insurance while also making sure to name-check the Culinary Workers Union in Nevada, who recently criticized Sanders’ platform.
Todd would later ask Biden about Sanders’ supporters attacking Culinary Union members over their criticism of the Vermont senator’s policies, wondering aloud who was responsible for those supporters’ actions.
“Look, he may not be responsible for it, but he has some accountability,” Biden stated. “You know me well enough to know that if any of my supporters did that, I’d disown them. Flat disown them.”
The former vice president also asserted that Sanders wasn’t doing enough to condemn the attacks on the union leaders, adding: “So far, I don’t think it’s sufficient just to say I’d disassociate myself.”
Sanders has accused Biden of distorting his Medicare for All plan and ignoring that even with Obamacare, too many Americans can’t afford health care because of high premiums and deductibles.