Bernie Bits: CNN Calls It the 'Summer of Sanders' | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Bits: CNN Calls It the 'Summer of Sanders'


Bolstered by a pair of polls last week showing him gaining on Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sounded a confident note over the weekend.

"We are going to win New Hampshire. We're going to win Iowa, and I think we're going to win the Democratic nomination, and I think we're going to win the presidency," Sanders told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning on "This Week."

The independent candidate for the Democratic nomination appeared on the broadcast from Concord, N.H., during a two-day, seven-stop swing through the Granite State. And judging by the turnout at Sanders' events — WMUR-TV pegged attendance at a Nashua town hall meeting at 500 — Sanders isn't the only one who thinks he has a chance.

A pair of stories in the national media indicate Clinton, the former secretary of state, is taking Sanders seriously. On Sunday, the Washington Post headlined a piece, "In Bernie Sanders, an unlikely — but real — threat to Hillary Clinton." In a Saturday story on the top-ranked Dems, CNN said Clinton "must weather the summer of Sanders."

Quoting anonymous Clinton advisers, both news outlets said that the Democratic frontrunner plans to shrug off Sanders and focus on her own agenda. According to the Post:

The Clinton campaign declined to discuss Sanders’s candidacy on the record, but the strategy is plain: She will not attack him — she has yet to mention him on the campaign trail — and will stick to her plan to roll out her policy agenda in phases this summer.
The Clinton campaign is betting that as she builds a progressive platform, Sanders’s appeal will wane — at least among those attracted to him primarily because of his ideological credentials. Sanders supporters drawn more by distaste for a Clinton coronation may be a different story.
CNN outlined three ways Clinton plans to respond to Sanders in a "nuanced" manner:

** Escalating her direct challenge of Republicans, increasingly calling them out by name, in an effort to cement her image as a fighter for Democratic interests ...

** Delivering a series of policy speeches throughout the summer, amplifying her call for social and economic issues that animate progressives ...

** Campaigning aggressively in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests in the primary fight, to demonstrate that she knows she must work hard to capture the Democratic nomination and will put in the work needed to win over any skeptical liberals.
One question for Sanders is whether he'll be able to raise enough money to compete. A report Friday in the New York Times seems to answer that question in the affirmative.

Though Sanders won't have to report how much he's raised for his presidential bid until July 15, the Times' Derek Willis found a sneak preview in filings from Act Blue, the online hub for Democratic fundraising. Through June 17, Willis found, Sanders had already raised $8.3 million via Act Blue — and that's not counting the cash he's collected at fundraisers and in direct donations:

It’s likely that Mr. Sanders will report more than $9 million raised as of June 30, the deadline for midyear F.E.C. reports. That amount is larger than any Republican not named Mitt Romney raised in the first half of 2011.

His total is greater than that of Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor who also uses ActBlue and has collected more than $331,000 in his first month of online fund-raising.
On "This Week," Sanders answered questions on two issues that have dogged him of late — guns and race — but he also dealt with a new critique: age. Stephanopoulos noted that if he won the White House, Sanders would be the oldest president ever elected: 75 years old on Election Day. 

"Well, why don't you follow me around this weekend in New Hampshire, where we're doing seven separate events and understand that thank God I — I am blessed with — with very good health," Sanders shot back. "I don't think I've taken a day off because of sickness in — in several years. So I believe as somebody who has — when he was a kid, a long distance runner, I'm blessed with endurance, I'm blessed with health, and we are going to do everything that we can, A, to win this campaign, and, B, as good a president as I possibly can be."

Correction: Sanders appeared on "This Week" from Concord, N.H., not Cochran, as a transcript from the show indicated.

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