Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) backed out of an interview after the news outlet refused to make questions about his family off-limits, according to a Burlington, Vermont-based paper.
Sanders spokesman Daniel McLean called Seven Days on Sunday to offer a Monday morning interview with the senator. McLean said the paper would not be allowed to ask questions about his family or "political gossip," but did not expand on either condition. The alternative newspaper refused, noting it has never accepted any preconditions to political interviews.
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The paper pointed out that the senator's stepdaughter, Carina Driscoll, is running for mayor of Burlington, and his wife, Jane Sanders, has been under scrutiny by federal investigators. Jane Sanders has been investigated for her role in possible bank fraud connected to a land purchase she made while president of the now-defunct Burlington College. VTDigger reported earlier this month that the probe had expanded to a grand jury, possibly indicating upcoming indictments.
McLean ultimately canceled entirely. "I don't think there is time today," he wrote in an email to the paper.
When Seven Days reporters showed up at a Sanders press conference on Monday, he dodged their attempts to get him to answer questions.
"…We talk about issues. We don't talk about gossip," Sanders told a reporter.
"I don't talk to gossip columnists," the senator repeated. "I talk about issues."