Sanders Won't Say if Monica Lewinsky is Off-Limits on the Campaign Trail

April 24, 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) would not answer if Monica Lewinsky should be off-limits on the campaign trail during an interview Sunday with CNN's Jake Tapper.

At a rally for Sanders in Wilmington, Deleware on Saturday, actress and Sanders supporter Rosario Dawson mentioned Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with then-President Bill Clinton. When Tapper asked Sanders about this, Sanders twice dodged the matter and moved to talk about other issues.

"There is a lot of concern, as you know, about what kind of damage you or Hillary Clinton might be doing to one another. One of your high-profile surrogates, actress Rosario Dawson invoked Monica Lewinsky at one of your rallies," Tapper said. "Do you think it's appropriate for your surrogates to be talking about Monica Lewinsky on the campaign trail?"

"Rosario is a great actress and she's doing a great job for us, and she's been a passionate fighter to see that we increase the voter turnout, that we fight for racial, economic, environmental justice," Sanders said. "Our job right now is to contrast our views compared to Secretary Clinton. That's what a campaign is about.

"My own view is we should break up the large financial institutions on Wall Street. I am opposed to fracking and by the way, we just won a good victory in New York State the other day, major fracking program has been killed. I think we have got to ask the wealthy and large corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes. So, what I will be doing in this campaign is an issue-oriented way, not by personal attacks, but by contrasting our view to Secretary Clinton."

Tapper held fast.

"But yes or no, should your surrogates be talking about Monica Lewinsky?" Tapper asked.

"I have no idea in what context Rosaria was talking about her. I would hope that all of our people focus on the real issues facing working people and the massive level of income and wealth inequality that we have," Sanders said. "And by the way, it might be a good idea for all of us including television networks to start talking about the planetary crisis of climate change because the scientists tell us if we do not transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy we should worry about the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren."