Joe Biden has called for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign to “disown” a video that some Sanders supporters say shows the former vice president endorsing Republican calls to cut Social Security and Medicare, the AP reports. “There’s a little doctored video going around ... put out by one of Bernie’s people,” Biden told supporters Saturday in Indianola, Iowa, referring to a 2018 speech in which Biden said then-House Speaker Paul Ryan "was correct" in saying rising deficit demanded action on the popular entitlement programs. The video in question, circulated on Twitter by a top Sanders adviser, does not appear to be altered. But the short clip omits Biden’s larger argument over how Ryan handled the 2017 tax cuts and subsequent budget debates, and Politifact deemed it inaccurate. While talking about the video, Biden pointed to his 2020 campaign proposals designed to shore up Social Security.
A separate Sanders’ adviser included a transcript of Biden’s remarks in the video clip in a separate campaign newsletter. He added other, more extended video, of Biden as a US senator in 1995 and presidential candidate in 2007 explaining his support for a more austere federal budget, including putting Social Security and Medicare “on the table.” The 2020 campaign flap highlights long-standing philosophical fissures between the progressive Sanders, who has spent decades arguing for a massive expansion of the federal government, and the more centrist Biden. Those differences have come to the forefront as Biden and Sanders are bunched with Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren atop early state polls weeks before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Responding to Biden’s remarks Saturday, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said, “Joe Biden should be honest with voters and stop trying to doctor his own public record of consistently and repeatedly trying to cut Social Security.” (Much more on the controversy here.)