Bernie Sanders goes off on debate moderator Jake Tapper: ‘Your question is a Republican talking point!’

(Video screenshot)

 

Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders snapped at CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper during the first round of the second Democrat presidential primary debates Tuesday evening and accused him of spouting Republican talking points.

Why? Because during the debate, Tapper repeatedly tried to address legitimate concerns about Sanders’ calls for private health insurance to be abolished and Medicare-for-All implemented.

“You support Medicare-for-all, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans in exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone,” he asked of Sanders as the debate began.

“Congressman [John] Delaney just referred to it as bad policy, and previously he’s called the idea political suicide that will just get President Trump reelected. What do you say to Congressman Delaney?”

Right off the bat, Sanders was combative.

You’re wrong!” he fumed.

But instead of explaining how Delaney was wrong — or addressing the fact that, according to polls, a majority of Americans agree with the congressman — Sanders whined about America’s allegedly “dysfunctional health care system” and claimed Canada’s health care system is better (it’s not).

Listen:

Later in the debate, Tapper tried to ask 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s sponsored Sanders’ plan, whether the plan’s implementation would require the Middle Class to pay more in taxes. Just like Sanders, she replied by deflecting.

“Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs — total costs — will go down,” Warren replied without actually answering the question.

The underlying point hidden beneath her rhetoric was that the extra costs incurred by higher taxes would allegedly be offset by all the free health care Middle Class Americans would receive. It’s a dubious point that Sanders would echo only moments later.

“Senator Warren at the beginning of the night said that Democrats cannot bring — cannot win the White House with small ideas and spinelessness,” Tapper continued, addressing his next question to 2020 contender Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

“In the last debate, she said the politicians who are not supporting Medicare-for-All simply lack the will to fight for it. You do not support Medicare for All. Is Senator Warren correct? Do you just not lack the will to fight for it?”

The Minnesota senator replied by saying that she does support the general premise behind Medicare-for-All — but that she proposes implementing it in a different manner.

“So this is what I think we need to get done: We need the public option. That’s what Barack Obama wanted, and it would bring health care costs down for everyone,” she said.

“Clearly, this is the easiest way to move forward quickly, and I want to get things done. People can’t wait. I’ve got my friend, Nicole, out there whose son was actually died trying to ration his insulin as a restaurant manager. And he died because he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.”

But as Tapper tried to hit her with another question, Sanders angrily butted in to yell some more.

Listen:

“As the author — as the author of the Medicare bill, let me clear up one thing,” he said. “As people talk about having insurance, there are millions of people who have insurance, they can’t go to the doctor, and when they come out of the hospital, they go bankrupt. All right?”

“What I am talking about and others up here are talking about is no deductibles and no co-payments. And, Jake, your question is a Republican talking point.”

But he wasn’t done talking trash yet.

And by the way — and by the way — by the way — the health care industry will be advertising tonight on this program,” he added, taking a dig at CNN.

What’s unclear is which one of Tapper’s questions he had an issue with. Or were all of the moderator’s questions to his disliking? Given the grumpy old man temperament Sanders displayed throughout the debate Tuesday, it’s genuinely difficult to tell.

What did seem clear was that he wasn’t too keen on addressing legitimate concerns about his radical proposals. Like Fox News contributor Guy Benson noted in a tweet, it was as if the senator thought there was something innately bad about raising “mathematical & practical concerns about single-payer healthcare.” Others echoed this observation:

Sanders wasn’t alone in his criticisms. The radically far-left blog Vox went so as to accuse CNN of “fram[ing] debate questions around right-wing concerns.”

“People who tuned in to the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night could have been forgiven for thinking they accidentally turned the channel to Fox News,” the site complained. “At times during the debate, CNN hosts framed policy questions around Republican talking points.”

But again, the polls show that a majority of the American people share these same alleged “right-wing concerns”:

Apparently, polls, facts and statistics are “Republican talking points” …

Who knew!?

Vivek Saxena

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