With the Democratic presidential primary field slowly narrowing down, two candidates are displaying resilience: former Vice President Joe Biden, and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. In recent weeks, with the Iowa caucuses fast-approaching, the two men have made an effort to contrast their records.
Currently in the focus are Biden and Sanders' differences when it comes to social safety nets. Distinguishing himself from Biden, Sanders has criticized the former vice president over his past support for cuts to Social Security. Members of the Sanders campaign have shared and amplified dozens of videos showing Biden advocate for the cuts. During an Iowa campaign event on Saturday, Biden was confronted about his position on Social Security, according to Common Dreams.
A voter asked the former vice president about a video that has been circulating the web. "It's simply a lie, that video is a lie," Biden responded, suggesting that "Bernie's people" have been spreading a "doctored" video of him proposing cuts to Social Security. The former vice president also said that he was looking for the Sanders campaign "to come forward and disown it but they haven't done it yet."
The "doctored" video in question is a brief snippet of Biden's speech before the Brookings Institution think tank in 2018. In the clip, he can be heard praising Republican Paul Ryan's plan to reform the tax code by cutting programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Some have taken issue with the video, suggesting that it has been edited in a way that it misrepresents Biden's statement.
The Brookings Institution footage is only one of the clips in which Biden can be seen advocating for cuts to Social Security, however. Biden has called on cuts to the program on numerous occasions, and many of his speeches have been documented. Sanders' speechwriter, David Sirota, has posted footage of a number of them to social media.Over the course of his career, Biden has used varying terminology to advocate for cuts to Social Security, but he has advocated for that cause for more than 40 years, according to a fact-check by The Intercept.
"As early as 1984 and as recently as 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden called for cuts to Social Security in the name of saving the program and balancing the federal budget," the fact-check reads.
According to The Intercept, "Biden's fixation on cutting Social Security dates back to the Reagan era." Over the past four decades, the former vice president has not only proposed cuts to Social Security, but he has also strongly --- and publicly --- advocated for them, and dozens of his statements have entered the public record.
In a statement, Sanders' campaign manager Faiz Shakir called on Biden to be "honest with voters."
"The facts are very clear: Biden not only pushed to cut Social Security -- he is on tape proudly bragging about it on multiple occasions," Shakir said.