Democratic candidate Joe Biden has called for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign to “disown” what he calls “doctored video” that some Sanders supporters say shows the former vice president endorsing Republican calls to cut Social Security and Medicare, The Associated Press informs.
“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 discussed then-House Speaker Paul Ryan saying rising deficit demanded action on the popular entitlement programs.
“I’m looking for his campaign to come forward and disown it,” Biden continued, pointing to his 2020 campaign proposals designed to shore up Social Security. “But they haven’t done it yet.”
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. A separate Sanders’ adviser included a transcript of Biden’s remarks in the video clip in a separate campaign newsletter. He added another, more extended video, of Biden as a U.S. 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, AP adds.
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.”
“The facts are very clear: Biden not only pushed to cut Social Security — he is on tape proudly bragging about it on multiple occasions,” Shakir said in a statement. “The vice president must stop dodging questions about his record, and start explaining why he has so aggressively pushed to slash one of the most significant and successful social programs in American history, which millions of Americans rely on for survival.”
In a January 1 tweet, Sanders adviser Warren Gunnels wrote that it “is soul-wrenching” to have heard “Biden say ‘Ryan was correct.’” He attached a 20-second video clip taken from an April 2018 speech Biden delivered at the Brookings Institution.