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Sanders Policy Interview Labeled a 'Disaster'

Critics say he couldn't provide specifics when pressed
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2016 7:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bernie Sanders had a great night in Wisconsin, but he's not having such a great time with media reaction to an interview he gave the New York Daily News editorial board. Critics are pouncing on him for not having specific answers to questions about how he would go about breaking up big banks or prosecuting bankers, and on other policy points. The transcript in full is here, but USA Today says Sanders seems to be taking the most flak for his answer about the logistics of breaking up banks. One snippet: "Do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?" asked the interviewer. "Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it." At another point, he says he doesn't know, but does "suspect" that statutes are on the books that could be used for Wall Street indictments. On a question about an issue not as central to his campaign—Israeli settlements—he said, "If I had some paper in front of me, I would give you a better answer." Some reaction:

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  • "Pretty close to a disaster," reads the headline on an assessment by Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post. For critics, this is "the 'ah ha!' moment that they have been insisting will come for Sanders, a time when his pie-in-the-sky proposals are closely examined and found wanting."
  • In fact, the Clinton campaign emailed the transcript to donors, reports CNN.
  • "Typical extreme anti-Clinton double standard: if Hillary gave answers like this to ed board, she would be crucified," tweeted Mark Halperin of Bloomberg.
  • It "raises some questions about his policy chops," writes David A. Graham at the Atlantic. "Sanders isn’t running for chief ideologue—he’s running for chief executive, and so it’s also important for him to know what policies he would use to turn those beliefs into practice."
(Read more Bernie Sanders 2016 stories.)

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