Bernie Sanders Passed on Hitting One of Hillary Clinton’s Biggest Weaknesses

He’d rather talk about Wall Street.

Richard Ellis/ZUMA Wire

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Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has signaled for months that it doesn’t want to go negative against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. At the second Democratic presidential debate on Saturday, Sanders took the gloves off—hitting the former secretary of state for her support among Wall Street donors. But early on, he took a pass on underscoring a major point of distinction between them.

The first half hour of the second Democratic presidential debate was focused on how the United States should deal with ISIS and international terrorism. It could have been an opening for Sanders to highlight Hillary Clinton’s early support for the Iraq war. And out of the gate, Sanders did emphasize his opposition to the 2003 invasion. “I don’t think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the instability we are seeing now,” he said. “I think that was one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States.”

But when the CBS moderator, John Dickerson, pressed him specifically about Clinton’s support for the war, he didn’t take the gloves off:

I think we have a disagreement, and the disagreement is that not only did I vote against the war in Iraq if you look at history, John, you will find that regime change, whether it was in the early ’50s in Iran, whether it was toppling Allende in Chile, whether it was overthrowing the government of Guatemala way back when, these invasions, these toppling of governments…regime changes have unintended consequences. I will say, on these issues I am a little bit more conservative than the secretary in that I am not in favor of regime change.

That was it. It was a history lesson—and a true one—but it was hardly a powerful indictment of her record.

By contrast, in 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama hammered Clinton over and over again for her vote to authorize the war; on Saturday, Sanders spoke right past her.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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