Bernie Sanders has been doing a bit of damage control in the days since he stood up at a Philadelphia rally and declared Hillary Clinton “unqualified” to be president. Last night, he told Seth Meyers that while he does not regret the comments, he still believes her to be “a hundred times better than any of the Republican candidates.”
The Vermont senator spent much of Friday morning making similar arguments on the Today show and CBS This Morning before arriving at The View, where he was quickly met with criticism for what appears to be a turning point in what had been a relatively civil Democratic primary race.
“I’m happy for you,” co-host Joy Behar said at the top of the interview, referring to his recent string of primary and caucus wins. “What I’m not happy about is that the Democrats, you and Hillary have taken a turn that I don’t like. It's like you’re starting to turn on each other, like the Republicans. I liked it that you were such a gentleman, such a mensch and she was being ladylike about it. I like that. Don’t go down to their level.”
“Good point, and I hope that stops,” Sanders said in response. “I think the people of this country understand we have some enormous crises and they want the candidates to deal with these crises and certainly they don’t want to have us act like Republicans who are an embarrassment to this country in terms of how they’re running their campaign.” In his defense, he added, “My perception is that the Clinton campaign has made a decision, especially here in New York, to get a little bit rough with us. I just want to make it clear to the Clinton people, yes, I come from the nice state of Vermont, but if we’re hit we can hit back.”
In an attempt to clarify his comments about Clinton’s qualifications, Sanders again insisted that she said the same about him first—an assertion that has now been largely disproven. “Does she have the experience? Obviously she does. She was secretary of state, a U.S. senator, I thought an outstanding first lady in many respects, breaking the mold,” he said. “But, what I meant by that, what I thought I made clear, you call into question the judgment of somebody, I believe, who voted for the war in Iraq, which turns out to be one of the more disastrous foreign policy blunders in our history.”
When Behar pointed out that Clinton now “regrets” that particular Senate vote, Sanders shot back, “She regrets a lot of things... but I regret less than she does because I had the courage to vote the right way even when it was not necessarily popular.”
Later in the show, Sanders discussed his just-announced trip to the Vatican next week, where he will meet with Pope Francis to speak about issues involving the global economy and environment. Asked what the two men have in common, he said, “Obviously, I have disagreements with the Pope and the Church regarding a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage and so forth, but this Pope has been unbelievable in raising consciousness about dealing with trying to create an economy that has moral values.”
Then, just as they did with Clinton when she was on the show this week, the hosts forced Sanders to answer a series of “personal” questions, something he seemed less than eager to do. For the record, his favorite fictional president is Jed Bartlet from The West Wing, his most annoying habit is working too much, and his celebrity crush? Joy Behar.
Finally, while Clinton’s interview ended with a group selfie, today’s ended with a lesson from Sanders on how to eat pizza without a knife and fork. Hopefully, Donald Trump was taking notes.