Replay: Live Chat with Senator Bernie Sanders

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Senator Bernie Sanders, the longest serving Congressional independent in American history and a self-described democratic socialist, joined us on Tuesday, Sept. 11 for a half-hour live chat here at BillMoyers.com.

Replay the chat by pushing play in the window below. You can also watch Sanders’s conversation with Bill Moyers or shorter clips that include his take on money in politics and his assessment of charges that President Obama is a socialist.

 Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)(09/11/2012) 
11:20
We'll be starting our chat with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 2:30 PM ET, but feel free to enter your questions below to get them into the queue.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 11:20 
2:25
Senator Sanders will be joining us in five minutes. Please type in your questions in the box below and we'll add them to our list.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:25 
2:30
We are pleased to have Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont with us today in a BillMoyers.com live chat.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:30 
2:32
I just want to say "hello" to everyone, it's a pleasure to be with you.
Bill Moyers is a hero of mine.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:32 
2:32
He is clearly one of the outstanding progressive voices in America.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:32 
2:32
I was very pleased to have been on his show last week, and look forward to discussing the important issues facing our country with folks on the internet.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:32 
2:33
[Comment From Ron Nolan, facebook Ron Nolan, facebook : ] 
Is it even possible to overturn Citizens United and get corporate money out of our elections? The current situation did no develop overnight. Are the corporations and their money just too strong?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:33 Ron Nolan, facebook
2:33
There is no question that the corporations and their supporters in congress are enormously powerful.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:33 
2:34
And given the fact that the Republican Party is benefiting in a very significant way from Citizens United, it is clear they will oppose any real effort to overturn it or even reform it.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:34 
2:35
On the other hand, disgust with Citizens United decision goes across political boundaries, and the vast majority of Americans understand that when a small number of people can put hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process...
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:35 
2:35
... something is profoundly wrong with the system.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:35 
2:35
Right now, six states including the state of Vermont have passed resolutions calling for the overturn of Citizens United. And hundreds of cities and towns have also passed resolutions.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:35 
2:36
This is an issue that we've got to work very very hard on, but I believe, in fact, over a period of time we can pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:36 
2:36
[Comment From Max Rosenblum Max Rosenblum : ] 
Senator, I'm conflicted about suggesting any reform which might limit your own very important voice in the senate chamber, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts about congressional term limits. Wouldn't this upend the game of "dialing for dollars" and provide constant fresh blood to the legislative branch?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:36 Max Rosenblum
2:36
No, I do not believe that term limits are a solution for a number of reasons.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:36 
2:37
I think the major issue that we have to focus on is the corrupting impact of big money on the political process, and that means not only overturning Citizens United, but moving to public funding of elections.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:37 
2:37
[Comment From Gianni Lovato, Chatham, N Gianni Lovato, Chatham, N : ] 
In your opinion, what, if anything, can be done by the average Jane/Joe American citizen to help unlock the current rigid polarization in Congress that seems to prevent the development of any constructive political dialogue?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:37 Gianni Lovato, Chatham, N
2:38
That's a good question -- I think we need a lot more down-to-earth, face-to-face political communication, political dialogue.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:38 
2:38
In my state, for example, and I'm running for reelection, we will hold over 50 political town hall meetings to discuss the important issues facing America instead of spending millions of dollars on thirty second political ads.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:38 
2:39
We need a lot more interactive conversation, and I think when we do that we will find that the American people have a lot more in common ideologically than many people perceive.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:39 
2:40
I am thinking right now about a poll that I saw about a year ago in which Tea Party supporters indicated they did not want to see cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:40 
2:40
The overwhelming majority of the American people want to see the wealthiest people in this country and corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:40 
2:40
Many Americans agree that given the fact that we have tripled military spending since 1997, it's time to reduce the huge amount of money we're putting into defense.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:40 
2:41
So I believe that there is a lot more agreement on very important issues than the current political system enables us to see.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:41 
2:41
[Comment From Todd Finlay Todd Finlay : ] 
Thank you Senator Sanders for all that you do. What do you think is the single most important thing for progressives to do at this time?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:41 Todd Finlay
2:41
I'll have to give you two things.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:41 
2:42
Number one, we have got to do everything that we can to defeat the right wing extremists, which is what the Republican Party has become.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:42 
2:42
And secondly, the day after the election, after hopefully Obama is reelected, we have got to engage in creating the kind of progressive, grassroots movement, which forces the Democratic Party to become far more progressive than it is today.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:42 
2:43
[Comment From Deb Wilson, facebook Deb Wilson, facebook : ] 
What is the best way to get Republican friends to see what their obstructionism has done to stop/slow the economy?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:43 Deb Wilson, facebook
2:43
In general, the media does a pretty poor job in explaining to the American people what goes on here in Washington.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:43 
2:44
I think what would be very, very effective is to get the facts about the unprecedented level of obstructionism here in the United States Senate against Obama, and the irresponsible and outrageous use of the filibuster to prevent us from passing meaningful legislation.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:44 
2:44
I believe also that many moderate Republicans don't fully understand some of the anti-worker, anti-middle class, anti-woman, anti-environment and anti-child positions that the Republican Party has adopted in recent years.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:44 
2:45
And its important that we explain that to our Republican friends.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:45 
2:45
[Comment From carol carol : ] 
What words can we say to our representatives to get their attention? If their positions are basically paid for already, they are not very interested in our voices. Feel helpless. What can we do short of pitchforks and torches in the streets. [which recent 99% efforts seem to indicate won't work against establishment anyway]
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:45 carol
2:45
Well, Carol, at the end of the day, while it is absolutely true that the millionaires and the corporations have tremendous power because of their money...
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:45 
2:46
...it is also true that tens of millions of people have the ability to vote right wing extremists out of office and support progressive candidates.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:46 
2:46
I think that progressives all across this country have got to be engaged not just in demonstrations and protests, which is terribly important, but also jump into the political process and fight for a progressive agenda.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:46 
2:47
And I think its clear that they have got to demand that their elected officials and candidates respond to that progressive agenda.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:47 
2:47
And people have got to know how these elected officials respond to the issues.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:47 
2:47
Are they going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly and poor, or are they going to ask the corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:47 
2:48
Do they support a medicare for all single payer system? Etc., etc.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:48 
2:48
And, if the elected officials do not support a progressive agenda, they must know that they will not have the support of progressives and that in fact progressives will seek out other candidates.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:48 
2:49
In all of that there is a lesson to be learned from the Tea Party, which has very effectively moved the Republican Party to the right.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:49 
2:49
And progressives have got to be engaged politically and move the Democratic Party to the left.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:49 
2:49
[Comment From Jeff Asbed, St. Louis, MO Jeff Asbed, St. Louis, MO : ] 
You just mentioned your hope that President Obama gets reelected. Why should a progressive support him (and not, say, Jill Stein) when he is calling for the enactment of Simpson-Bowles which includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:49 Jeff Asbed, St. Louis, MO
2:50
I appreciate the question, it's a good question, and here's my answer:
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:50 
2:50
If Romney and his right wing extremists friends are elected, their economic policies and environmental policies will cause devastating pain to tens of millions of Americans.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:50 
2:50
And with regard to global warming, could create a situation which is irreversible.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:50 
2:51
I fully appreciate the disappointment and concerns that many people have with the Obama administration, and I share many of those concerns.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:51 
2:52
In my view, however, what maturity requires us to do right now is to reelect the president, and create the kind of grassroots progressive movement which forces the White House and the Democratic leadership to stand up aggressively against the big money interests and protect working families.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:52 
2:52
[Comment From Brogan Derringer Brogan Derringer : ] 
Can Bernie influence Obama 2 speak out seriously more about the GOP voter supression situation in all the swing states B4 the election ?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:52 Brogan Derringer
2:53
Thank you for the question.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:53 
2:53
It enormously important. I have done that and will continue to do that.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:53 
2:54
We had representatives form the attorney generals office here in my office to talk about that issue, and I am urging them to be as absolutely aggressive as they can against this outrageous attack on American democracy and the right of people to participate in the political process.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:54 
2:54
So answer is, I have and I will continue to do my best to make the Obama administration act as aggressively as they can on this.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:54 
2:54
[Comment From Skip Williams Skip Williams : ] 
Do you ever wish that more independents would run for congress or just more independent-minded people focused on doing their best for the people they represent.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:54 Skip Williams
2:55
Well, the word "independent" is a very big word. You can have independent-type conservatives, you can have independent-type progressives.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:55 
2:55
There is nothing magical about the word "independent."
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:55 
2:55
I would be delighted to see more progressive independents get elected.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:55 
2:56
... Who believe that the Democrats and the Republicans have not been as strong as they should be in protecting the middle class and working families of this country.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:56 
2:56
And addressing the other major crises that we face.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:56 
2:56
So I would be delighted to see more progressive independents elected.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:56 
2:56
[Comment From Simba Simba : ] 
How do the democrats treat you in private? Do they encourage you: "join us, join us"?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:56 Simba
2:56
The Democrats and the majority leader have been personally very kind to me and have treated me in a very fair way without discrimination.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:56 
2:57
The majority leader put me on five very important committees that I wanted to be on.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:57 
2:57
So I'm not complaining about my treatment by the Democratic leadership.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:57 
2:57
[Comment From jane jane : ] 
do your attribute your sanity/success in the US senate to the fact that you are an independent? or is it just you? also, if prez obama wins in november, do you think democrats will step up and do what needs to be done if their numbers increase in either house?
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:57 jane
2:58
For me, I have throughout my political career always operated outside of the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:58 
2:58
In fact when I was elected the mayor of Burlington in 1981, I defeated a five-term Democrat.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:58 
2:58
The Democrats, at that point, in City Hall were my major opposition.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:58 
2:59
The reason I am an independent is I believe it is important to tell the people of my state and the country the truth as I see it. And that is that both political parties are heavily dominated by big money.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:59 
2:59
And that the Republican Party especially has now become a right wing extremist party.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:59 
3:00
As far as how the Democrats will perform if they do well in this election, and I hope they do... I believe a lot of that will depend on the pressure they feel from the grassroots.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:00 
3:00
If the American people demand that the President and the Democratic leadership stand up to Wall Street, create a significant new jobs program, address global warming, and protect the social safety net, the Democrats will do that.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:00 
3:01
If the American people at the grassroots level do not make those demands, I worry that the policies of big money will very much influence the Democratic leadership decision-making process.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:01 
3:01
I think we'll have to leave it there.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:01 
3:01
Thank you all very much.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:01 
3:02
Thanks to Senator Sanders for taking the time to join us today in the midst of his busy schedule.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:02 
3:02
And thank you for all your great questions and comments.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:02 
3:02
We hope that you enjoyed the chat.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:02 
3:03
Remember, you can watch the entire Bill Moyers interview with Sen. Sanders at BillMoyers.com: http://billmoyers.com/segment/bernie-sanders-on-the-independent-in-politics/
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:03 
3:05
As well as video outtakes from his interview, such as where Sanders explains why President Obama is not a socialist and the deleterious effect of money on politics.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:05 
3:07
For more and continuing coverage of Citizens United, money and politics, be sure to fan Moyers & Company on Facebook to get alerts about upcoming episodes, website features and more live chats.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:07 
3:07
Thanks again for joining us today!
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:07 
 
 
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