Interviewing Sanders for the men's mag was writer and activist Jonathan Tasini, who previously interviewed Paul Krugman for Playboy. His history as a gadfly political candidate in New York is reminiscent of Sanders' own early electoral outings. Tasini challenged and lost to then-senator Hillary Clinton in 2006 and scandal-plagued Congressman Charles Rangel in 2010.
While Tasini doesn't break a lot of new ground in the interview, he does elicit an interesting response when he asks Sanders about a potential 2016 presidential candidacy. Sanders demurs at first, saying that "to run a serious campaign, you need to raise hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars."
Nevertheless, the Vermonter says, Americans "are hungering for a voice out there," and "it would be tempting to try to raise issues and demand discussion on issues that are not being talked about..."
PLAYBOY: Hillary Clinton will probably be the Democratic nominee. Does that offer an alternative to the country?
SANDERS: No, it does not.
PLAYBOY: Are you absolutely ruling out running for president, 100 percent?
SANDERS: Absolutely? 100 percent? Cross my heart? Is there a stack of Bibles somewhere? Look, maybe it’s only 99 percent. I care a lot about working families. I care a lot about the collapse of the American middle class. I care a lot about the enormous wealth and income disparity in our country. I care a lot that poverty in America is near an all-time high but hardly anyone talks about it. I realize running for president would be a way to shine a spotlight on these issues that are too often in the shadows today. [pauses] But I am at least 99 percent sure I won’t.
Anyway, check it out if you're into that kind of thing. If not, we hear the magazine has other interesting content.