Bernie Bits: Sanders Surges in Weekend Iowa Poll | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Bits: Sanders Surges in Weekend Iowa Poll



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is closing in on Hillary Clinton in Iowa, according to a poll released on Saturday.

A Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll shows 37 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers named Clinton as their first choice for president. Sanders got 30 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, reported to be contemplating entering the race, was at 14 percent. In May, the same pollster put Clinton at 57 percent and Sanders at 16 percent.

"It looks like what people call the 'era of inevitability' is over," said the pollster, J. Ann Selzer, according to Bloomberg Politics. "[Clinton] has lost a third of the support that she had in May, so any time you lose that much that quickly, it’s a wake-up call." 

Sanders on Saturday appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and largely ducked a question from host Jake Tapper about the poll results.

"Not only in Iowa and New Hampshire but all over this country we are generating enormous enthusiasm," Sanders said.

Tapper pressed Sanders on gun control in the wake of the recent fatal shootings of a Texas sheriff's deputy and of two journalists killed on live television in Roanoke, Va., last week.

Tapper noted that Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, campaigning for Clinton in New Hampshire, criticized Sanders' voting record on gun-control issues. Sanders opposed the Brady bill, which instituted federal background checks and a waiting period for firearms purchases. He also supported bills allowing firearms on Amtrak trains and has made comments questioning whether gun control would curtail episodes of extreme gun violence.

But Sanders defended his record, noting that he has a lifetime score of "D-minus" from the National Rifle Association. He also touted his vote, in the wake of the Sandy Hook, Conn., school shooting, to ban assault weapons and to close the "gun-show loophole." 

"I do not accept the fact that I have been weak on this issue. In fact, I have been strong on this issue," Sanders told Tapper. "And in fact, coming from a rural state which has almost no gun control, I think I can get beyond the noise and all of these arguments and people shouting at each other, and come up with real, constructive gun-control legislation which most significantly gets guns out of the hands of people who should not have them."

Watch Sanders' full appearance on "State of the Union" here: