NEW YORK, N.Y. – Bernie Sanders says the aim of his political revolution is to bring more people into the political process than President Barack Obama, arguing that he can close a presidential leadership gap that’s persisted over the eight years of the Obama administration.
“There’s a huge gap right now between Congress and the American people. What presidential leadership is about closing that gap,” he told MSNBC in an interview Wednesday that will air in full Thursday evening on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.”
Asked if he believed President Obama had closed that gap, Sanders said: “No, I don’t. I mean, I think he has made the effort. But I think what we need, when I talk about a political revolution, is bringing millions and millions of people into the political process in a way that does not exist right now.”
Sanders said his strategy for pushing through an ambitious agenda that includes single payer health care and free college tuition would involve mobilizing thousands of people who don’t currently participate in the political process — though he did acknowledge that the president turned out more voters, particularly minorities, than ever before.
His remarks come as the Democratic primary turns toward more diverse states like Nevada, with a large Latino population, and particularly South Carolina, where black voters are a majority of the primary electorate. Hillary Clinton has criticized Sanders in the past for being critical of the nation’s first African American president. Sanders “criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street. Sen. Sanders called [Obama] weak, disappointing. He even in 2011 publicly sought someone to run in a primary against President Obama,” Clinton told an audience in Charleston, S.C., earlier this month.
This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com