Sanders says Biden winning Black vote by ‘running with his ties to Obama’

Says that his opponent is capitalizing on the former president's popularity with Democrats and African-Americans

DERRY, NH – FEBRUARY 03: Democratic Presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a CNN and the New Hampshire Democratic Party hosted Democratic Presidential Town Hall at the Derry Opera House. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) claims Black people are supporting Joe Biden, because of his link to President Barack Obama.

When MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked Sanders about his struggle to garner Black votes, Sanders replied that he’s “running against somebody who has touted his relationship with Barack Obama throughout the entirety of his campaign.” Sanders added that Obama is “enormously popular” with Democrats and Black voters and Biden is capitalizing on this.

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“(It’s) not that I’m not popular; Biden is running with his ties to Obama,” Sanders told Maddow. “And that’s working well.”

Biden’s campaign, which was struggling prior to Feb. 29, received a lifeline when Black voters in South Carolina boosted him to his first primary win. On Super Tuesday, Biden continued to win the southern states —from Virginia to Alabama —and now leads Sanders in the delegate count. Sanders could take the lead back once delegates from California are allocated, reported The Hill.

Just prior to South Carolina’s election, Biden received a critical endorsement from House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.). Clyburn said Sanders never asked for his endorsement, and the Vermont senator told Maddow he didn’t ask because their politics are different.

“It is no secret, Jim is a very nice guy, his politics are not my politics,” Sanders said. “(There’s) no way in God’s earth he was going to be endorsing me.”

It’s important to note that Sanders has also run ads featuring him with Obama.

In the Maddow interview, Sanders said while Obama is not his “best friend,” he respects the former president’s decision not to interfere in the nominating process by endorsing a candidate.

“I know there’s enormous pressure on him to support Biden,” Sanders said, “(and) the fact that he’s not doing that makes me respect them even more.”

Sanders says he running against the so-called “Democratic establishment” which he says Biden is a part of. Several politicians who endorsed Biden took offense to being classified in this way and interpreted the statement as a slap to Black voters supporting Biden.

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“To say that African American voters in the South are the establishment is not only untrue, but it’s insulting,” Sen. Tim Kaine told CNN.

“I just did not know African Americans in the South were considered part of the establishment,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), a co-chair of Biden’s campaign, added on a press call with the press yesterday.