KUSI goes one-on-one with Senator Bernie Sanders
KUSI’s John Soderman had a chance to meet with presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders prior to his rally at Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista on Sunday. Here’s what Senator Sanders had to say about San Diego as a military town, what he defines as the problem with "corporate media" and being called "Crazy Bernie" by conservative radio hosts.
JS: Mr. Sanders, this is a military town. We’ve lost a lot of Marines in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. If you had to look in the eyes of a widow whose husband was killed in Fallujah, which is now taken over by ISIS, what would you say to her?
BS: I have looked into the eyes. In fact, a young man close to our family died I believe it was in Fallujah. So we knew that family pretty well. I voted against the war in Iraq. Not only did I vote against it, I helped lead the opposition to that war.
We cannot bring back the brave men and women who have lost their lives in the war, but No. 1 we have to do everything we can, and I have tried as the former chairman of the Veteran’s Committee, to protect the widows and the children of those who lost their lives. And second-of-all we have to make a commitment to the United States military that we will not get involved in wars that we should not get involved in.
JS: We have so many people who depend on the military for their jobs here. If you were elected President, what would your plan be for defense spending, generally?
BS: I think we need to continue having the strongest defense in the world to protect not only our own people, but our allies, working with our allies around the world. But I will also tell you that there’s a lot of waste in the military that I’m going to go after. We have military contractors giving us cost overruns where we’re wasting many many billions of dollars. We have weapons systems that I suspect we do not need. We have military bases all over the world which I think we can cut back on.
I want to have the strongest military in the world, the most modern military in the world, the best military in the world, but we’re going to do it in a cost-effective way.
JS: You’ve referred to "don’t listen to the message of the corporate media." How do you define the "corporate media?"
BS: Well you have the major networks which are owned by large, multi-national corporations and they have their own interests and their own conflicts of interests. For example, we have lost millions of jobs as a result of disastrous trade policies. Very little discussion about that in the media, almost no discussion at all. Why? Because many of the interests in the media, corporate media, have taken advantage of those disastrous trade policies.
The scientific community tells us that climate change is the great environmental crisis facing the planet. Amazingly little discussion about that on TV. And the reason for that, I suspect, is the fossil fuel industry doing a lot of advertising on there. Prescription drug costs in America are the highest in the world. How often have you seen on television a serious discussion about why we pay so much more than the other countries? Does that have anything to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical industry spends millions of dollars every year advertising on television?
So I think those are the kinds of conflicts that exist, and that the American people have to understand.
JS: Some conservative radio talk show hosts refer to you as "Crazy Bernie," like Rush Limbaugh. React to that.
BS: Rush Limbaugh is making comments about somebody who is crazy. Rush Limbaugh is making that comment. In politics we have a lot of nasty people out there, and I will defend my sanity against Rush Limbaugh’s any day of the week. Rush is the last guy in the world who should be calling somebody else crazy.