Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, Jan. 8, 2016.
Photo by Scott Morgan/Reuters

Sanders backpedals following ‘establishment’ flap

Bernie Sanders may be a first-time presidential candidate, but he’s proven to be quite adept when it comes to messaging. Looking back over the last several months, few instances come to mind of the Vermont independent committing a “gaffe” or having to apologize for a verbal slip-up.
 
The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/21/16, 9:41 PM ET

Sanders clarifies 'establishment' remarks amid Clinton attacks

Kasie Hunt, MSNBC political reporter, talks with Rachel Maddow about her interview with Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders about the buzz around his recent remarks about Hillary Clinton’s endorsements and the difference between “grassroots” and …
This week, however, the senator caused some trouble for himself. Appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show, Sanders was asked about several leading progressive organizations, including Planned Parenthood, formally endorsing Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He responded by saying he’s “taking on … the political establishment” – comments Clinton and the relevant groups quickly seized upon.
 
Sanders campaign officials insisted, more than once, that there was nothing wrong with the senator’s on-air comments. But yesterday afternoon, in comments to MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, Sanders backpedaled, clarifying his comments from a couple of days prior.
“That’s not what I meant,” Sanders told NBC News in an interview during his campaign swing through the first-in-the-nation primary state. “We’re a week out in the election, and the Clinton people will try to spin these things.”
 
Pressed on whether he views the groups as “establishment,” Sanders said: “No. They aren’t. They’re standing up and fighting the important fights that have to be fought.”
 
Sanders said he was specifically talking about the leadership of those groups and their endorsement decisions.
This should effectively wrap up the controversy, such as it was, though no one should be surprised if Team Clinton stokes these fires a little more.
 
Disclosure: My wife works for Planned Parenthood, but she had no role in this piece, and she was not involved in the group’s endorsement process.
 
 

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Sanders backpedals following 'establishment' flap