November 18th, 2011
03:14 PM ET
11 years ago

Sanders: Obama 'dead wrong' on debt

Washington (CNN) - Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who aligns himself with the Democratic Party, said he's disappointed in the president's handling of the nation's debt situation.

"President Obama is dead wrong on this issue," Sanders said in an interview set to air on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Friday. "He should go back and listen to what he said during his campaign."

Sanders said he was displeased with Obama's openness to make changes in entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicaid, as part of a compromise with Congressional Republicans in reducing the deficit.

His comments come as a Congressional super committee faces a tight deadline to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade by Wednesday. Failure to reach an agreement will trigger automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to start in 2013, evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending.

The bipartisan committee began its work in September, but Washington is buzzing with concern that Democrats and Republicans have reached gridlock and will fail to settle on final terms by next week.

Sanders said he's not impressed with what he's hearing so far on the Hill, expressing skepticism that a final deal will avoid slashing social programs rather than raising revenues on the wealthy.

"The president, if he were to support that proposal, would be going back on his word," Sanders said.

While the senator supported Obama in 2008, he said he's not yet ready to throw his weight behind the president's re-election bid.

"The problem the president has is he ran a brilliant campaign, he inspired a whole lot of people, but people now are nervous. They're not quite sure where he's coming from. He needs to stand up for the working class, the middle class of this country and say I'm going to protect you."

The full interview can be seen on CNN's "The Situation Room," starting at 4 p.m. ET.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


Filed under: 2012 • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Sanders "dead on" concerning debt.

    November 18, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    "The problem the president has is he ran a brilliant campaign, he inspired a whole lot of people, but people now are nervous. They're not quite sure where he's coming from. He needs to stand up for the working class, the middle class of this country and say I'm going to protect you."

    While I don't agree with everything the senator said here, I think he's making a good point. There are a lot of people who will be scared away by what the republicans are putting out there. Most of us have a clear understanding of what's going on and need no further explanations. However, for those who do – our president needs to come out STRONG and give clear details and specifics on what he's been TRYING to do and where he's going in the future. Once that minority of people overcome their fear(s) – I think they'll have no reservations voting for Obama in 2012 especially since the GOP has absolutely no common sense approaches or no one even slightly capable of being president.

    November 18, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. seebofubar

    No one with two brain cells to rub together pays any attention to Sanders anyway.

    November 18, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Dagnytag

    The Quote of the Decade:
    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
    ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

    November 18, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. MTATL67

    The problem I see is weak leadership in Congress Rep. Boehner, Rep. Cantor (who seem to have all but disappeared – must be in a time out ) and Sen. McConnell. The dynamic trio have let extremism and obstructionism run rampant up on the hill. To be fair we share some of the responsibility by sending those extremist from the Tea party to Congress. Glad to say we can rectify that error in 2012.

    November 18, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Mike

    Protect us? From whom? Himself maybe.
    Obama has done absolutely nothing he promised us. He said his health care plan would save us money, yet all the experts (independent ones mind you) are saying just the opposite.
    And this is his only successful legislation since taking office.
    He killed Bin Laden? Really? Didn't the Seals do that? Wasn't his role more of a thumbs up or down thing? How hard is that to decide on anyway?
    The Republican candidates aren't looking that hopeful but it may not matter come 2012.
    The "anyone but Bush" theme Obama ran on in 2008 will become "anyone but Obama" in 2012 for the Repubs. And they might just be as successful as Obama was with that theme.
    I doubt we could afford four more years of this guy.

    November 18, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. ardubya

    Off hand, the only change I can think of that I would like to see to ss and medicare is th remove the cap on the people paying into them.

    November 18, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Another guy who thinks the government can simply support the population with hand outs and welfare.

    It really does make you question, the ability of Democrats to THINK!

    November 18, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Joshl

    WHAT do people expect Obama to do at this point??? It is our OWN fault that the public has been pushing debt-reduction like crazy during a recession. It is our OWN fault we voted in a bunch of Tea Party and Republican congressmen in 2010. This entire problem is Congress's problem.. What exactly does anyone expect the president to do??

    November 18, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Pete from St Paul

    Sanders is on. Obama has been negotiating from a right-leaning most favor rather than a left-leaning most favor. Now, why the heck did the automatic trigger not have an AUTOMATIC TAX INCREASE included; but only automatic spending cuts?!

    November 18, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. jack

    I think Bernie speaks before the final outcome and lays blame when maybe he should not. I think the committee will fail and that will set up cuts to ss and medicare. It also will essentially ensure that the bush tax cuts largely go away – at least for the wealthy. Over the coming year, or early in 2013 when these cuts begin to take effect, ss and medicare benefits can be reformed and restored. Let's make no mistake, they NEED to be revised to return to a solvent state.

    November 18, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Just as long as anyone but a republican running the show, i feel good about our economy. If I wanted it to be much worse than it is, I'd vote republican, but I'm no sadist.

    November 18, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Me

    Right on, Bernie. Read the transcript of his 8 hr. speech in congress last year. He said all that needed to be said. Of course, the corporate media's narrative of the whole speech was, "look, the crazy socialist from Vermont spoke for 8 hours straight" while totally ignoring what he had to say. Bernie is one of the few still looking out for the many.

    November 18, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Dagnytag

    The Quote of the Decade:
    --------------
    You do realize that opposition to raising the debt ceiling was due to the fact that the Bush administration, with the backing of the Republican controlled Congress, was pushing for a bigger increase in spending, which would raise the annual deficit for the 5th consecutive year in a row.

    You do realize that the Bush adminsitration had started not one, but two, wars without doing what *every* other previous President had done, irregardless of party. That being that every previous President had raised taxes to pay for the wars. The Republican controlled Congress saw fit to cut taxes not once, but twice, while increasing annual spending.

    So, I hope that you do realize that while your quote may be accurate, it has been taken completely out of the context and circumstances that were behind it. You cannot take an opinion on events out of the past, and apply them equally to events today.

    Finally, I hope that you realize that no one makes a big issue out of those words except for those ignorant enough not to realize that a similar thing can be done with the words of today's Republican leadership in Congress. Have a nice day.

    November 18, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Me

    P.S. Dagny, please try to base your worldview on something besides the scribblings of a second-rate romance novelist.

    November 18, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Brian

    Obama, the Great Bamboozler

    November 18, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Dagnytag

    The Quote of the Decade:
    --------------

    I hope that you realize that no one makes a big issue out of those words except for those ignorant enough not to realize that a similar thing can be done with the words of today's Republican leadership in Congress. Have a nice day.

    November 18, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    ... He needs to stand up for the working class, the middle class of this country and say I'm going to protect you."
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    The President has done plenty of damage to the working class and middle class of this country. He has put them and their next 2 generations in the kind of debt that will significantly affect their lives. With nothing to show for it. He should apologize and step aside.

    November 18, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Gothaze

    What if I gave you $75000. What would you do. You want to know why we Occupy Wall Street. Bail-Out Wall Street and Banks 1. Bail out the Victims of Wall Street and its Crimes 0! So let me give you the short version. $787 billion in TARP...to quote save the economy from the next depression. Passed on the eve of the 2008 majority win by Dems. Had to be done. The proof is there. Even with the Bush era tax cuts and now a much evident housing bubble. The economy still stalls. The mistake that I hold POTUS for is not going bigger. We ask a counrty to help save our system with TARP. Its taxpayer money...thats what we were told. Right. Ok let say the money has been re-payed to the taxpayer. Interest was earned. Right otherwise thats a bad deal. So all we're saying is We Want Our Money Now! After the crash of 08 I lost over $10500.00 of income and because of inflation im down another 4% in income. Now forgive me because, I was guilty of not planning my finances better. However I have learned the error of my ways. Im a 99%. I help move this economy. However I could use the 63000.

    November 18, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    Mr. Sanders I respect your views and I think you have your head on straight but if the teapublikans, the party of hell no being led by self promoting imbeciles want the President to fail regardless of what this is doing and will to do the country there really is no room for anyone to negotiate.
    The shrub put us in the toilet the teapublikans are now flushing it!

    November 18, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Sanders, the self declared SOCIALIST, speaks for nobody but himself and the idiot socialists from Vermont that vote for the dunce. I fhe had his way, we'd be the next Cuba or Venezueala. The guy is a complete imbecile.

    November 18, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. AZ Dem

    This is exactly what happened due to the midterms of 2010. The country allowed a Republican majority to take over the House or Reps, dwindle the majority in the Senate and above all else turn numerous state legislatures over to the GOP. Now we sit here and wonder why nothing is passing through Congress that is meaninggul to average Americans. We allowed a virtual stalemate in our governing process for the next two years. 2012 will be a mandate election and whichever side wins will win big mark my words on that.

    November 18, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. vic , nashville ,tn

    I agree with Sen. Bernie Sanders last December Obama extend the Bush tax cut after that He become republican’s president

    November 18, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    So in other words, seebofubar, President Obama is right on the money on the debt, right seebofubar? Everyone be careful where you step – the wingnuttery's heads are gonna explode when they realize that if they agree with Bernie Sanders, they're cozying up to the most liberal "socialist" in DC (yet if they disagree that means they agree with the President) – and it ain't gonna be pretty!

    November 18, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. david

    Raise taxes on the rich dudes.

    November 18, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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