Obama: Biden’s and Sanders’s goals ‘not that different from a 40-thousand-foot level’

Former President Barack Obama said that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and progressive standard-bearer Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had similar policy aims “from a forty-thousand foot level.”

“If you look at Joe Biden’s goals and Bernie Sanders’s goals, they’re not that different, from a forty-thousand-foot level,” Obama told the New Yorker. “They both want to make sure everybody has health care. They want to make sure everybody can get a job that pays a living wage. They want to make sure every child gets a good education.”

The former president suggested Biden has moved left on some key issues for tactical reasons. “A lot of times, the issue has to do with ‘How do we go about that, and what are the coalitions we need?’” he told the publication. “What I think the moment has done is to change some of those calculations, not because necessarily Joe’s changed but because circumstances have changed.”

Despite the divide between millennials, the largest current generation, and the average of those in power politically, Obama said divisions within the party are not necessarily cause for concern.

“You have a big-tent party. And that means that you tolerate, listen to, and embrace folks who are different than you, and try to get them in the fold,” he said. “And so you work with not just liberal Democrats, but you work with conservative Democrats—and you are willing to compromise on issues.”

Biden, meanwhile, has previously said he has “no empathy” for millennials and lamented that in 2016 “they stayed home, they didn’t get involved.”

However, he expressed sympathy for younger voters when talking to the New Yorker.

“This generation has really been screwed,” Biden said. “These were really the most open, the least prejudiced, the brightest, the best-educated generation in American history. And what’s happening? They end up with 9/11, they end up with a war, they end up with the Great Recession, and then they end up with this. This generation deserves help in the middle of this crisis.”

Tags Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Joe Biden

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