Bernie Sanders on Ron Paul: He's 'out to lunch'
August 29th, 2011
07:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Bernie Sanders on Ron Paul: He's 'out to lunch'

(CNN) - Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont criticized Texas Rep. Ron Paul on Monday for blasting the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a useless entity.

"I like Ron Paul, but on these issues, he's completely out to lunch," Sanders told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, anchor of "The Situation Room."

The Republican presidential candidate made headlines when he said on the campaign trail Friday that Americans are capable of recovering from natural disasters without the help of FEMA.

"All they do is come in and tell you what to do and can't do," Paul said. "You can't get in your houses. And they hinder the local people, and they hinder volunteers from going in."

But Sanders, whose state is experiencing mass flooding and power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, said FEMA is on the ground in Vermont.

He argued now is the time for the country to come together.

"We are a nation. We are not 50 individual states," Sanders said. "Vermont stands with other states when they're in trouble, and other states stand with us. That's what being a nation is about."

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Filed under: Bernie Sanders • FEMA • Ron Paul • TV-The Situation Room • Vermont
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Billy

    Bernie Sanders – 'We are not 50 individual states'

    So I guess we should just abolish our State constitutions and governments and just cede all sovereignty and authority to Federal power... nothing bad would come from that... that doesn't sound at all like communism, socialism or some other terrible form of central planning. I hope the strong tone of sarcasm was evident in those statements. CENTRAL PLANNING DOES NOT WORK! This includes central planning at the federal level for emergencies. Are feds in a better position to tell a Florida homeowner how to prepare or recover from a hurricane than themselves or their local officials? Disaster preparedness is the responsibility of individuals, no amount of gov't funding, which is stolen from individuals, can save people from their own laziness or stupidity. If you live in a flood zone, build on stilts and prepare accordingly, buy insurance, stock food and water... save your money for repairs in the event that your home in damaged. The federal government cannot be all things to all people.

    August 29, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  2. Henry

    Yup, out to lunch old Ron is. Why do these Republicans have to say the most inopportune things at the most inopportune times. Just like Eric Cantor and his pronouncement that any aid money should come in the form of budget cuts. Are these people really our neighbors? And it isn't just Cantor and Paul; it is all Republicans. These are truly warped.

    August 29, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. Jim

    The 50 states can be free and independent but also capable of helping each other. Bernie Sanders statement that we are a nation and not 50 individual states shows that he does not believe that the US is a Republic. Maybe he should read the Pledge of Allegiance and try to understand the meaning of the words.

    August 29, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Ben Dover

    I agree with Sanders......Ron Paul and John McCain should both get into a rocking chair and talk about the "Good" old days of GWB !

    August 29, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Paul is the intellectual leader and conscience of the Tea Party hobbit movement. Guess that explains why he is "out to lunch.".

    August 29, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. Evelyn

    So now they're scolding him for petitioning for less government involvement? The critics really need to pick a side...

    August 29, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  7. Andrew

    Congrats FEMA is finally learning how to do there job, if we bring the troops home as Ron Paul would like we would have plenty of troops to do this job while hopefully not spending a fortune on contractors. This is also the most publicity i have seen Ron Paul have on CNN, how come you never show what he talks about and the things he has been right about.

    August 29, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. Squigman

    Hate to say it but the whole republican party, seems to be out to lunch. It would be laughable if not for the fact that there are many misguided, maladjusted, half-wits ready to pull the lever for these human speed bumps. Then after they've had the chance to vote for the idiot of their choice, go to the nearest bar or strip club, and complain about the economy. They act like they cant rub two nickles together, yet they afford booze, and G-string fodder (folding money).

    August 29, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Chuk

    In fact, Republicans will soon have 50 countries rather than 50 states. And within each state it would be each person on his own – just buy enough guns to live like the wild wild west.
    How else would you explain support for Ron Paul who advocates eradication of just about every govt institution. Or for anyone to want to support Rick Perry who only wants to secede and now wants to be president of the same country he wants to secede from?!!!!!! Unbelievable. Only in America. Good job guys. Very smart.

    August 29, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. Derek

    ron paul 2012!

    August 29, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. Mark

    Ron Paul wasn't suggesting we leave the states out in the cold to fend for themselves. FEMA was created in what, 1978? How old is the USA? It's not like the country didn't help states before then. Besides, FEMA is unconstitutional, since it's only based on executive orders, yet it acts as a legislative body. It's also inefficient and frustratingly bossy, marching into areas and barking out orders to local people who often have a much better idea of what's actually going on than the incompetent, self-assured bureaucrats sent from Washington. I think Bernie needs to reexamine the issue before making remarks such as this.

    August 29, 2011 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  12. Texan

    Ron Paul lives in the past--- as he remembers it. That past also had racial segregation, pole taxes, etc.

    August 29, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. Ken

    Ron Paul and his entire family need to be dropped off today on the side of the road in a flooded Vermont town and surely we will not allow FEMA to approach him and offer any help of any kind. This way Ron and his family can realize just how IMPORTANT FEMA is and NEEDED.

    August 29, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  14. john

    as we know that in politics every person that runs for office wants to win. but in my opinion, the party that wants to ruin this country is the republican party. because, they are haters. i can't understand how they say that they believe in god, and they are agianst human beings. they are devil, but what goes around, comes around. at the end ,God will be the judge.

    August 29, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. stayintrue

    Geez Bernie. Is this the kettle calling the pot..........well.....used? We dare not make reference to any thing that could even possibly be considered "racist." I'm just saying, Bernie is a bit over the top, out to lunch, or whatever. I would consider the source in this particular comment, and consider it pathetic.

    August 29, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. Clwyd

    Not just out to lunch, but suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's. Legalize drugs and no FEMA. What next $1 gas?

    August 29, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  17. Kris in AL

    Can we all agree on one thing.......They BOTH are "out to lunch."

    August 29, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    People expect the government to protect them and help them recover from disaster. The idea that the federal government shouldn't do that is just crazy. I guess that the federal governement shouldn't have a law enforcement agency or a common currency. What does the federal government supposed to do?

    August 29, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  19. 'Tis Liz

    After Katrina, the first relief to arrive and last leave was Operattion Blessing from the 700 Club distributing food and clothing. Church groups from around the country came to gut rotten, molded houses. My 77 year old dad hooked up his flatboat to his pickup and hauled stranded people before FEMA's late arrival, as did other local boat owners. FEMA shut down the locals boat-assembly line picking up stranded people. Then our government sent the National Guard to seize firearms from law-abiding citizens who were protecting their lives and property from looters and gang thugs. Americans are still Good Samaritans where there is a genuine need. Dr. Paul is right on–we need to extricate ourselves from unjust wars (entangling foreign alliances, our founding fathers called them) and use the billions of dollars we would have spent on a natural disaster "kitty" for our citizens. Legalize the Constitution. Dr. Ron Paul 2012.

    August 29, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. A Real Patriot

    Ron Paul wants to return this country to the good old days-like the 19th century-when life expectancy was around 48-people had babies on their kitchen tables, died in their beds, and were buried in the yard.

    Corporations had no restrictions, they could cheat, steal, pollute and put dangerous drugs on the shelves.

    The police and army was used to bash the heads of workers who dared to form unions.

    Ah yes......that's when America was great!

    August 29, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  21. Segregationist

    FEMA is a terrorist organization and needs to go. Ron Paul 2012!!!

    August 29, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. John Fredericks

    Bernie Sanders is knee-jerk, and I think its childish how he would call him out to lunch without even arguing against Ron Paul's argument. Grade school politics at its best.

    August 29, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. roho76

    Look at those two photos and tell me again who's out to lunch. Bernie, why don't you ask the people of New Orleans what they think about FEMA? It's easy to let other peoples money melt in a warehouse next to a parking lot of empty trailers filled with comfortable beds when your a big government socialist. While I appreciate Bernie's 'friendship' on other issues like, attacking the Federal Reserve, I have to say he's no better than any other big government phony.

    August 29, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. minnie

    Bernie Sanders is a true statesman.

    August 29, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  25. last train

    Why is it wrong for a state to take care of its own problems? Haven't the states become too dependent on the federal government to come bail them out every time something happens? Why isn't the media asking these questions instead of assuming that we all need FEMA?

    August 29, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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