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

Conservative reporter Henry Rodgers defended Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Biden's 'allies' gearing up to sink his campaign Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support 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 TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest 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 BidenStopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest Trump slams Biden staff for donating bail money to protesters At least 4,400 people arrested in connection with protests: report 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