Politics

FLASHBACK: Bennet Slammed ‘Rigged’ Washington Under Democratic Leadership

Sen. Michael Bennet/ Getty Images
Sen. Michael Bennet/ Getty Images

Colorado Democratic senator Michael Bennet slammed the legislative process as "rigged" at a time when his own party held majority of the upper chamber of Congress.

But those comments from 2010 didn't come because Bennet volunteered them in a television interview or a speech. His words were caught accidentally on a microphone.

"There's nothing about—because it's all rigged," Bennet said while in the presiding officer's chair in the senate chamber. "I mean, the whole conversation is rigged. The fact that we don't get to a discussion before the break about what we're going to do in the lame duck—is just rigged. This stuff’s rigged."

Those comments came in late November of 2010, even as elections earlier that month had trimmed the Democrats' majority from 57 to 51, but still left Nevada senator Harry Reid as the majority leader. (Technically, Democratic senators numbered 49, but two independents chose to caucus with them, giving them a 51-seat majority).

"Michael was telling the same truths on the senate floor that he tells folks back home in Colorado," Bennet's office said as reported by the Washington Examiner. "For almost two years, he has talked about needing to fix a broken Washington. We can't move forward on major issues facing our country because of a broken system that is rigged to prevent progress."

The Examiner followed up by asking specifically if Bennet was disappointed in Sen. Reid.

"Michael supports Senator Reid's efforts to move these issues to the floor," Bennet's office replied. "He is disappointed in partisan politics and political games that prevent progress."

Now that Bennet's presidential campaign is underway, he is ignoring Democratic political games of the past and is squarely placing blame for a "broken" Washington on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well as on members of the House "Freedom Caucus."

On a podcast this week, Bennet claimed that America's form of self-governance is crumbling because of broken politics, and he views himself as being the only candidate telling the truth about it.

"So what is missing from their [other presidential candidates] diagnosis or discussion?" asked host Ezra Klein with Vox.

"I would say the damage that has been done by Mitch McConnell and the Freedom Caucus over the last decade," Bennet said, "and the tyranny we've lived under because of their idiosyncratic view of what America wants for its kids and for our future and for our place in the world."

"I see the last ten years of my life in the senate as essentially a terrible waste of the American people’s time and we don’t have time to waste,"  he continued.

He echoed similar sentiments again in an interview with the Washington Post.

"I believe that we have been tyrannized for the last ten years by the Freedom Caucus in this country," the Post quoted him as saying. "They immobilized the Republican Party. They immobilized the Democratic Party. They immobilized this exercise in self-government."