Sanders critics feel the ‘bern’ after socialist candidate releases ‘Obama endorsement’ ad
The ad features Obama’s voiceover saying positive things about Sanders, footage of the two politicians grinning and walking together, and a killer clip of Obama shouting “Feel the Bern!” in front of an oversized flag backdrop.
It’s currently airing in Florida, according to the New York Times journalist who posted it on Wednesday. At first glance, it could be mistaken for an explicit endorsement, ending on a still of Obama and Sanders with text reading “Bernie for President – Join Us.”
Folks, this Bernie Sanders campaign ad with Barack Obama ad is gonna be a talkerAiring in FLORIDA now pic.twitter.com/WFt5sqJNed— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) March 4, 2020
Obama never endorsed Sanders, however. He allegedly even told an aide he would intervene in the primary contest if it looked like Sanders was going to become the nominee. But Obama hasn’t endorsed any of the other candidates who have used his image and voice to sell themselves to a nostalgia-addled electorate, either.
In refusing to explicitly endorse one candidate, the former president has unwittingly ended up endorsing all of them, as they have fallen all over themselves to play up their connections with Obama.Also on rt.com The whole Democratic primary is an Obama lookalike contest (and everyone's losing)
Until Wednesday, Sanders had largely stayed out of that particular fray. He has criticized Obama in the past for being insufficiently progressive, and has always presented himself as to the former president’s left. But desperate times call for desperate measures: and Biden, fresh off his Super Tuesday victories, is polling at more than twice Sanders’ support in Florida ahead of that state's primary.
Fact-checkers pounced on the ad, with CNN noting it “leaves out important context.” The clip of Obama and Sanders walking and smiling dated from a June 2016 meeting between the two. While the meeting was called at Sanders’ request, Obama took the opportunity to ask Sanders to quit campaigning against Hillary Clinton, begging for a show of party unity heading into the Democratic convention. Sanders turned him down and contested Clinton’s coronation.
While Obama did say everything in the voice-over, the ad removed the context in which Obama was acknowledging he didn’t know the Vermont senator as well as Clinton. Another laudatory moment was lifted from a speech supporting Sanders’ 2006 Senate run.
Even the “Feel the Bern!” moment at the end came from a speech Obama gave at the 2016 Democratic convention in which he urged disgruntled Sanders supporters to transfer their loyalty to Clinton, only to be drowned out by chants of “BerNIE!” A somewhat exasperated Obama acknowledged the crowd with the candidate’s slogan. So, the opposite of an endorsement then. Oops?
Sanders’ detractors on Twitter were frothing with rage. Sanders didn’t even like Obama – how dare he claim an endorsement?
This is so disengenuous. He has taken every opportunity to criticize Obama and his policies. I am shocked by this man’s hypocrisy.— Kriss (@KMC4wauk) March 4, 2020
Ain't this some sh*t. Hutzpah to rely on President Obama to garner votes when rarely have any of us heard BS, surrogates or supporters say a positive word about President Obama or his 8 yrs as POTUS. I've kept my own thoughts on this campaign but this really takes the cake imo.— sherijr (@sherijr) March 4, 2020
Worse, Sanders was a self-described democratic socialist who’d said nice things about Fidel Castro a few times, and Florida is full of rabidly anti-Castro Cubans… who wouldn’t vote for him anyway.
hahaha! Come on now. Let's discuss how Cuban Americans, whose relatives died at the hands of Castro, are feeling abt Bernie rn.— Odette Roulette⁷ (@odetteroulette) March 4, 2020
It won't work. Especially not in Florida.Sanders' problems there are not something ads can fix.— I See and I Hope, I never give up (@psalm82) March 4, 2020
While many understood that Sanders gained nothing from trying to be the one honest candidate in a field of dissemblers, they wondered why he hadn’t pulled out the big guns earlier. Surely even the phoniest Obama endorsement would have helped him on Super Tuesday, when Biden cut a swath through southern states based – in the opinion of some – solely on black voters’ fond reminiscences of his boss?
I'm not saying it's not a misleading ad; of course it is!But that doesn't detract from the fact that it would have been a great ad to run two weeks ago, especially if Sanders struck a more conciliatory tone towards those who don't support him.— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) March 4, 2020
Obama has not commented on the Sanders ad, just like he hasn't commented on ads from Bloomberg or Biden. The former president is rumored to be working behind the scenes on Biden’s newly-revitalized campaign, but has previously said he would not endorse a candidate until after the primaries.
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