Bernie Sanders Just Released an Ad Touting His Relationship With Barack Obama

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

On Wednesday, the Bernie Sanders campaign released three new advertisements aimed at voters in the six states casting their primary ballots next week. And one of them touts Sanders’ relationship with President Barack Obama, an eyebrow-raising assertion for a candidate who had stood out among elected officials one of the 44th president’s fiercest left-leaning critics.

This ad, titled, “Feel the Bern,” layers audio narration from Obama over campaign images and archival footage of the Vermont senator’s appearances alongside the 44th president. The voice-over lavishes 30 seconds of Sanders praise from Obama, noting he has “great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless.” Obama also says Sanders “got bills done” from his perch on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee, countering an attack advanced by Sanders’ detractors that the senator, by virtue of his stubborn commitment to liberal ideals, has failed to compromise or get legislative results. 

The audio is not something Obama recorded for the campaign, and rather comes in part from a 2016 Politico interview Obama did about his potential successors, a conversation in which the president heaped praise on both Sanders and his opponent that year, Hillary Clinton. The advertisement’s first line, “Bernie is somebody who […] has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes, and great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless,” omits a clause from the original soundbite in which Obama admits that Sanders is someone “I don’t know as well because he wasn’t, obviously, in my administration.”

Another clip comes from Obama’s 2016 Democratic National Convention speech, when he was pushing party unity and lauding the organizing fervor Sanders’ supporters had brought to the primary campaign.

Sanders is just the most recent Democratic 2020 hopeful to lean on the sky-high popularity of the 44th president among Democrats to make a case to voters. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg put his own spliced cut of Obama praise on airwaves last month. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has premised his entire campaign on the “Obama-Biden” administration and has the ads to match.

But Sanders’ take is perhaps the most conspicuous: Sanders had been, among liberal federal lawmakers, one of Obama’s most vocal critics. The Atlantic reported last month that the Vermont senator had contemplated mounting a primary challenge against Obama during the 2012 election cycle.

And Obama returned the skepticism in kind. He’s taken pains to remain publicly throughout the primary, but reportedly once said in private that he would step in to stop a Sanders nomination if it looked likely.


Listen to MoJoreporters Tim Murphy and Fernanda Echarvarri explain Biden’s big night, Bernie’s long fight, and the knockdown fight for delegates to come, on this special Super Tuesday edition of the Mother Jones Podcast:

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate