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 SandersManchin meets with Sanders, Jayapal amid spending stalemate America can end poverty among its elderly citizens Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair 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

The comment follows Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGOP ekes out win in return of Congressional Baseball Game Greene heckles Democrats and they fire back on Capitol steps Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod MORE’s (D-Calif.) dig at older candidates, specifically former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms 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 TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE who is 73. 

Sanders and Biden face a diverse field of candidates, with Swalwell, Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE (D-Hawaii) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Build Back Better items on chopping block Buttigieg says delay in climate action will cost lives amid reports of Manchin roadblock Sunday shows - Buttigieg warns supply chain issues could stretch to next year 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.