Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man'

Conservative reporter Henry Rodgers defended Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. MORE (I-Vt.) on Friday after a former Obama campaign official questioned the Vermont senator's electability in the Midwest. 

“He has been the same guy since I’ve known him,” said Rodgers, who is a reporter for the conservative outlet The Daily Caller. “We have fought but he sticks to his guns and I respect him because he’s not a ‘yes’ man and he doesn’t go around like the rest of politicians acting a certain way to attract a base."

Rodgers's comments come after recent comments made by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

During an interview with MSNBC on Thursday, Messina called Sanders “the worst candidate” to take on Trump in November’s general election.

Messina said Sanders's appeal to young voters may be the very thing that hurts him in the general election, especially when it comes to Midwestern voters.

“It’s very clear to me that these swing voters that I care about — the Trump-Obama voters in the Midwestern states — Bernie Sanders is not the candidate we need to beat Trump in November,” he said.

Messina later clarified his comments, telling Newsweek he didn’t think that Trump-Obama voters would respond to “a massive infusion of government” and tax increases.

"When you start having real conversations with these voters, you realize that the very last thing they think is the recipe here is a massive infusion of government and a huge increase in taxes," he told the publication. "These are people who voted for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE last time, because they wanted to kind of blow the system up, because they think it failed [them]."

Messina’s comments come as Sanders and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE battle for the top spot in the Democratic primary race.

According to Emerson College's first national poll of the year, Sanders trails Biden by just three percentage points, registering 27 percent support compared to Biden’s 30 percent.

— Tess Bonn