Bernie Sanders: Ben Carson’s Past Is Past And Not Relevant Here

In a Sunday interview with Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson’s recent public image problems came up. However, the candidate who has termed himself a “Democratic Socialist” didn’t take the opportunity to bash his opponent for his alleged falsehoods about his past. Instead, Sanders said it’s time to forget all of that, and focus on the current issues.

Ben Carson is being taken to task for a number of statements in his autobiography, Gifted Hands. The book, published in 1990, contains a number of stories for which no corroborating evidence can now be found. CBS outlined a few of those stories, reporting that a college class in which Carson says he was awarded for being the “most honest student” did not exist at the time (Carson says he’s found evidence to the contrary, see image below), that no classmate could be tracked down who remembers the violent and angry outbursts Carson says he was once subject to, and that a “full scholarship” to West Point does not exist, so Carson’s claims of being offered such cannot be accurate.

Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, discuss old stories
[Image via Facebook]

Carson says he’s being unfairly scrutinized, and that other candidates haven’t faced such rigorous questioning about their pasts. (There’s no real bar for identifying “most” scrutiny, but Trump has faced criticism for past statements on abortion, and Clinton, Benghazi aside, has been taken to task for past stances on LGBT rights.)

However, asked about his opponent’s alleged falsehoods, Bernie Sanders took the high road, saying that things Carson wrote 25 years ago about experiences even further in the past aren’t relevant to this campaign. When asked by Meet The Press‘s Chuck Todd whether these investigations are “fair game,” Bernie said no, and added the following.

“I think it might be a better idea, I know it’s a crazy idea, but maybe we focus on the issues impacting the American people and what candidates are saying rather than just spending so much time exploring their lives of 30 or 40 years ago.”

Don’t think Sanders was actually defending Carson as a presidential candidate, though. He went on to make it very clear that he felt attacking statements and actions from decades past was unnecessary — because, according to Sanders, there’s plenty to criticize in the present, in Carson’s campaign.

Sanders suggested a better focus might be Carson’s plan to do the following.

“… abolish Medicare, impacting tens of millions of seniors, and… give huge tax breaks to the rich.”

Pressed for criticism of his Democratic opponent, Bernie also refused to attack Hillary Clinton, clarifying positions he suggests have been misrepresented by the media. He verified that he has indeed said he disagreed with her on a number of issues, and that the investigation into allegations regarding her emails should continue unimpeded. However, he clarified that disagreeing on issues, and accepting the need for an investigation when there’s an accusation of wrongdoing, are not intended as attacks on Clinton’s character.

“That does not mean that I’m making personal attacks against somebody I respect. I disagree with Hillary Clinton on whether or not we should break up the large financial institutions in this country. I don’t have a super PAC. She does have a super PAC. We have many different points of view and I will discuss those vigorously.”

One of Bernie Sanders’ early statements in his campaign was that he intended to run it without attacks on his opponents, and it’s something he’s held to strongly — and something that can’t be said about many of his opponents.

Bernie Sanders defends Ben Carson, other opponents snipe
[Image via Twitter]

As far as polls go, Real Clear Politics collection of polling results shows that, in the past week, Bernie Sanders is still behind Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary, while Ben Carson is edging out Donald Trump in many polls for Republican candidate.

[Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images]

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