Bernie Sanders Says Hillary ‘Not Qualified’ To Be President, But Obama Has Her Back

Bernie Sanders upped the ante in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, retaliating for some rhetoric from Hillary Clinton, over a statement which she never actually made.

Sanders was speaking at Temple University, and according to the Daily Beast, Bernie went off on a barrage about Hillary.

“She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am not qualified to be president.

“Well, let me, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton: I don’t believe that she is qualified, if she is, through her super-PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds. I don’t think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super-PAC.

“I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don’t think you are qualified if you have supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent paying jobs. I don’t think you are qualified if you’ve supported the Panama free trade agreement, something I very strongly opposed and, which as all of you know, has allowed corporations and wealthy all over the world people to avoid paying their taxes to their countries.”

Ironically, both candidates are qualified to be president, because both meet the four requirements:

  1. Age 35 or older.
  2. A natural born citizen.
  3. A resident for at least 14 years.
  4. Neither are finishing a second term in the job.

But of course, the question looming is, did Hillary actually say that Bernie Sanders is not qualified to be president?

The answer is no.

In an effort to get to the bottom of the matter, PolitiFact contacted the Clinton campaign, asking where to find that statement.

The campaign could find no such quote.

CNN‘s senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny began an article this way: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign is taking new steps to try and disqualify Bernie Sanders in the eyes of Democratic voters.”

But those were Zeleny’s words, not Hillary’s.

The words were attributed to Clinton most likely due to her evasive interview with Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. Host Joe Scarborough attempted four times to corner Hillary into saying it.

The Daily Beast shared the transcript:

JS: “In light of the questions he had problems with, do you believe this morning that Bernie Sanders is qualified and ready to be president of the United States?”

HC: “Well, I think the interview raised a lot of really serious questions, and I look at it this way. The core of his campaign has been break up the banks, and it didn’t seem in reading his answers that he understood exactly how that would work under Dodd-Frank and exactly who would be responsible, what the criteria were; and that means you really can’t help people if you don’t know how to do what you are campaigning on saying you want to do. And then there were other—”

JS: “So is he qualified?…And I’m serious, if you weren’t running today and you looked at Bernie Sanders would you say this guy is ready to be president of the United States?”

HC: “Well, I think he hadn’t done his homework and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions and really what it goes to is for voters to ask themselves, can he deliver what he’s talking about, can he really help people—”

JS: “What do you think?”

HC: “Can he help our economy, can he keep our country strong…Well, obviously, I think I’m by far the better choice—”

JS: “But do you think he is qualified and do you think he is able to deliver on the things he is promising to all these Democratic voters?”

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HC: “Well, lemme put it this way, Joe. I think that what he has been saying about the core issue in his whole campaign doesn’t seem to be rooted in an understanding of either the law or the practical ways you get something done. And I will leave it to voters to decide who of us can do the job that the country needs, who can do all aspects of the job. Both on the economic domestic issues and on national security and foreign policy.”

Clinton is thinking ahead to a united front, attempting to keep things on a civil level. In 2008, Clinton stepped up to back Obama as soon as the primaries ended.

CNN reported that Hillary’s response to Bernie was, “I’m still considerably ahead.”

The White House came to Clinton’s defense on Thursday, saying that Hillary is indeed qualified to be president, according to an article in The Hill.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One that President Obama was “fortunate” enough to have Clinton as his secretary of state for four years, when they “worked together on complicated, on complex issues.

“The president has said that Secretary Clinton comes into this race with more experience than any other non-vice president in recent campaign history.”

On Thursday, Sanders justified his comments at a press conference in Philadelphia.

“This campaign will fight back. This is not the type of politics that I want to get in.”

President Obama has been careful to not overtly back either Democratic candidate, but it is widely thought that his preference is Hillary.

[Photo by Seth Wenig/AP]