Sanders: Look at 'totality' of candidate instead of focusing on age

Sanders: Look at 'totality' of candidate instead of focusing on age
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Warren: Bloomberg making debate will show how other candidates handle 'an egomaniac billionaire' HuffPost reporter: Sanders could win plurality of delegates but lose nomination MORE (I-Vt.) said on Sunday that disqualifying a candidate solely on age would be a “pretty superficial answer." 

“I think age is certainly something that people should look at. They should should look at everything. Look at the totality of the person. Do you trust that person? Is that person honest? Do you agree with that person? What is the record of that person,” the Democratic presidential candidate told NPR’s Politics Podcast

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The comment follows Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellChris Wallace: 'Just insane' Swalwell is talking impeaching Trump again McCarthy says Trump did not interfere in Roger Stone case House intelligence briefing on worldwide threat assessment delayed MORE’s (D-Calif.) dig at older candidates, specifically former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders HuffPost reporter: Sanders could win plurality of delegates but lose nomination Meghan McCain to Joy Behar: 'You guys have done a piss-poor job of convincing me that I should vote for a Democrat' MORE, during last week’s Democratic debates. Borrowing a quote Biden's own past, Swalwell suggested it was time to “pass the torch” to a new generation.

But Sanders, 77, doesn’t think a candidate’s age is the best judge of success. 

“But just say, you know, 'I’m gonna vote for somebody because they’re 35 or 40, and I’m not going to vote for somebody in their 70s,' I think that’s a pretty superficial answer,” Sanders told NPR. 

Sanders is the oldest candidate in the 2020 race but Biden is close behind at 76. If elected, either would be the oldest sitting president, breaking the record set by President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE who is 73. 

Sanders and Biden face a diverse field of candidates, with Swalwell, Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardWhere the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll Yang: NYC should implement universal basic income MORE (D-Hawaii) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegHuffPost reporter: Sanders could win plurality of delegates but lose nomination Sanders campaign expands operations in Michigan Sanders leads among Latino voters: poll MORE (D-Ind.) nearly four decades younger. 

When Biden first ran for president in 1988, Buttigieg, Swalwell and Gabbard were just 6 years old. 

Despite being the oldest candidate in the field, Sanders’s base is largely made up of younger voters who have backed the progressive senator in polls.