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07 Jul

Sanders booed by House Democrats

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Sanders booed by House Democrats

The McGlynn: To those Democrats I say, in plain Irish, “Téigh go dtí Ifreann”.

Lawmakers press Sanders during a tense question-and-answer session on whether he would ultimately endorse Clinton and help foster party unity.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders heads to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders heads to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. | AP Photo

Sen. Bernie Sanders is still talking like a guy who’s running for president. But frustrated House Democrats — who booed him at one point during a morning meeting — say it’s time to stop.

With the Democratic convention just weeks away, Sanders still hasn’t endorsed one-time rival Hillary Clinton and dodged questions about when he would during a tense meeting Wednesday morning with House Democrats.

Sanders also stunned some of the Democrats in attendance when he told them that winning elections isn’t the only thing they should focus on. While they wanted to hear about how to beat Donald Trump — and how Sanders might help them win the House back — he was talking about remaking the country.

“The goal isn’t to win elections, the goal is to transform America,” Sanders said at one point, according to multiple lawmakers and aides in the room.

Some Democrats booed Sanders for that line, which plays better on the campaign trail than in front of a roomful of elected officials.

House Democrats overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton during the presidential primary fight, so it was not surprising that Sanders got a cool reception from them.

But frustration with Sanders was also evident. Rank-and-file House Democrats want the Vermont independent to officially drop out of the race and throw his support behind the presumptive nominee, and they can’t understand why he hasn’t.

“It was frustrating because he’s squandering the movement he built with a self-obsession that was totally on display,” said a senior Democrat, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

After Sanders delivered his opening remarks — which touched on his favorite issues, including campaign finance, Wall Street reform and trade — lawmakers pressed him during a tense question-and-answer session on whether he would ultimately endorse Clinton and help foster party unity.

Sanders complained about the superdelegate process used during the primaries. “One person is starting with 900 delegates before anyone even votes,” Sanders said. The Vermont socialist and his supporters have been upset about the issue for months.

But House Democrats didn’t seem very impressed with the unapologetic Sanders, who didn’t yield an inch despite the rough handling he received.

For his part, Sanders told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “we look at the world a little bit differently,” when asked later Wednesday about the booing.

“What I’m trying to do, and the reason I ran for president, is to help transform this country. To deal with income and wealth, inequality, a declining middle class, the fact that so many of the young people are leaving school deeply in debt,” Sanders added, though he remained noncommittal about endorsing Clinton.

But during their earlier meeting, House Democrats including John Garamendi of California and Joyce Beatty of Ohio asked Sanders for specifics on when he would get behind Clinton — questions that were accompanied by some cheers and clapping from other House Democrats, sources inside the room said.

“When are you going to run as a Democrat? This is the Democratic Caucus,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said to applause.

Sanders didn’t give them a clear answer, according to attendees. Instead, Sanders declared that elections are not necessarily about winning, but about transformations.

The senator also talked about his outstanding issues with the party’s platform, particularly when it comes to trade.

“To say, as he did, that the goal is not to win elections but for people to embrace his ideas is disconnected from what we are trying to do here. He had a chance to talk about getting things done and instead talked about prolonging his process,” the Democratic source added.

Sanders did have some support among House Democrats.

“A lot of members are anxious about when is he going to explicitly support Hillary,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). “And what he’s saying is that’s an ongoing process. But if we want to win, we’ve got to take the long view that we need a platform that is going to genuinely create excitement for our nominee.”

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The O'Leary

How dare they. They should have given him a standing ovation. He saved their party and as Hillary takes as her own HIS progressive policies, he is the only person who can save her campaign. Their behavior illustrates why the Democrat party (no longer Democratic) is losing so many members, including me.

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