Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) dismissed attacks on his age by a rival candidate as "ageism" after Thursday night’s Democratic debate hosted by NBC.
The 77-year-old senator faced criticism from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) , who suggested that older candidates should "pass the torch to a new generation of Americans."
Swalwell first targeted former Vice President Joe Biden during the debate by pointing out that Biden himself called for "passing the torch" to younger candidates when he ran for president 32 years ago, and argued that more senior candidates should hold to that standard.
Hours before the debate, Swalwell told CNN that "we can’t have a candidate who has ideas that are staler than Donald Trump’s… I don’t think we can nominate a candidate who has been in government for longer than 20 years."
Sanders was asked what he thought of Swalwell’s comments following the debate by a CNN reporter.
"I think that’s kind of ageism, to tell you the truth," Sanders said. "And I think what we're trying to do and all of us are trying to do is to end discrimination in this country against women, against minorities, against the LGBT community, and I think ageism as well."
Sanders added that it doesn't matter what demographic the candidate belongs to but what they stand for and what's their record.
"It doesn't matter if you're old, you're young, you're black, you're white, you’re woman, man, you've got to take a hard look at the candidates and what they stand for and what their record has been," Sanders said.
Sanders insisted that it would not be right for him to judge younger candidates for their age, and asked that people instead be judged "on the totality of who they are."