Sanders: GOP Doesn't Want America to Succeed
In the 20 years after Richard Nixon resigned, he worked relentlessly to portray Watergate as a third-rate burglary and himself innocent of any crimes. But Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, whose reporting was instrumental in bringing Nixon down, say he was even worse than they originally thought. Tony Guida reports.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also said President Obama, who has suffered in many polls from a seeming inability to make headway on the economy, is facing a more extreme form of political opposition than he'd ever seen.
"I think in his heart the president is a very, very decent guy; he wants to do what most Americans want him to do: To reach out, bring people together," Sanders said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.
"But what has happened is the Republicans have said 'no, no, no.' They have waged more filibusters than any time in the history of this country. They have been the party of 'no' and obstructionism. At some point, what the president has got to understand [is] they do not want America to succeed. They're into politics."
Host Bob Schieffer asked Sanders if it was fair to say Republicans don't want America to succeed.
Yes, he replied. "I think gaining power is their major initiative. On the floor of the Senate, Bob, I've got to tell you, every single day it's 60 votes to pass legislation. That is unprecedented in American history."
Sanders said that the President and the Democrats (with whom the Independent caucuses) have made "very significant accomplishments, which can't be dismissed: A health care reform, 30 million more people getting health insurance. The stimulus package which has changed national priorities, created and saved 2.3 to 3 million jobs. Financial reform. That's nothing to sneeze at."
But Sanders said with increasing poverty, and with the income gap between rich and poor at its greatest since such figures were measured, America's middle class continues to collapse.
"You can do all kinds of good things," Sanders said, "but if you have 16% of our population unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work, you know what? We have a very serious situation.
"I think there's a concern that the president hasn't seen that urgency, stood up for working families in the way we would like him to do, and taken on the big money interests and said to the American people exactly what FDR said in the 1930s: 'Listen, I am on your side. Their greed, their recklessness on Wall Street has caused these problems. I'm going to take them on. I'm coming to you. We're going to work together on a progressive agenda to expand the middle class."
Also on the program, Governor Ed Rendell, D-Pa., supported Sanders' decrying of Republican obstructionism.
"Look at the small business bill," Rendell said. "Republicans have talked all summer about helping small business. And yet there was a bill with $30 billion of lending authority with elimination of capital gains on small businesses. And they held it up until Senator Voinovich cast the deciding vote. They held it up all summer long. It could have been helping small businesses three or four months earlier, had they acted responsibly."
When Schieffer asked if there was a misperception about the Democrats' agenda and accomplishments, compared to how the GOP and conservative activists portray Democrats, Rendell said yes. "For two reasons, Bob: Number one, ours is a complex message. The Tea Party message is pretty easy and simple. Secondly, we just don't have it in our make-up, in our DNA to mislead the public. We don't go out there and talk like that."
Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., said that Democrats should more forcefully take on the Tea Party.
"For some reason everyone is scared of them," Richardson said. "What they really want to do to this country, when they talk about reducing deficits, is they're cutting into Medicare, Medicaid, firefighters, teachers, nurses, people's benefits, Social Security.
"I think it's important that we not be defensive, that we be strong, but we have to unify and stop the internal carping."
- David Morgan
David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.
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