- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2016

With a crucial Democratic presidential showdown in New York just a week away, Sen. Bernard Sanders on Sunday launched a blistering assault on rival Hillary Clinton, openly questioning the former secretary of state’s judgment and saying he has doubts about the type of president she would make.

Mr. Sanders made the comments as the Democratic presidential primary enters the home stretch. The senator from Vermont — fresh off a win in the Wyoming caucuses Saturday, his eighth victory in the past nine contests — clearly believes the momentum is on his side. His campaign, which had focused almost entirely on issues such as income inequality, has entered a new phase, and Mr. Sanders‘ strategy now is to discredit Mrs. Clinton among primary voters.

“I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make,” Mr. Sanders told CNN’s “State of the Union,” one of four appearances he made on the Sunday talk show circuit. “In terms of experience, no question she has the experience.”

He took his critique even further on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” detailing the reasons he believes Mrs. Clinton should not be president.

“In terms of her judgment, something is clearly lacking,” he said. “When you vote for virtually every trade agreement that has cost workers of this country millions of jobs, when you support and continue to support fracking despite the crisis we have in terms of clean water, and essentially when you have a super PAC that is raising tens of millions of dollars from every special interest out there. … The American people do not believe that is the kind of president we need to make the changes in America to protect working families of this country.”

Mr. Sanders also has routinely questioned Mrs. Clinton’s judgment because of her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq War.

Mr. Sanders defeated Mrs. Clinton in the Wyoming caucuses Saturday, garnering 55 percent of the vote to her 44 percent. But because of the Democratic Party’s proportional delegate allocation, each emerged from Wyoming with seven delegates.

Mrs. Clinton leads the delegate race 1,756 to 1,068, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Among pledged delegates, she leads 1,287 to 1,037, and among superdelegates 469 to 31.

It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Sanders campaign argues that superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials free to support either candidate — ultimately will switch to his side after realizing that he, not Mrs. Clinton, is the party’s best hope to defeat a Republican such as Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz in November.

Mrs. Clinton has brushed off the attacks from Mr. Sanders. She told CNN on Sunday that she will have the number of delegates needed to win the nomination by the time the Democratic National Convention opens in July.

She also is disputing the narrative that the momentum is clearly on Mr. Sanders‘ side.

“Right now, I am leading him with about 2.5 million [more] votes in the popular vote, I’m leading in pledged delegates with a larger margin than Sen. Obama ever had over me [in 2008],” she said. “I feel good about the upcoming contests, and I expect to be the nominee and will hope to have a unified Democratic Party so we can turn our attention to the Republican nominee.”

The New York primary April 19 could be a turning point in the race. The Empire State has 291 delegates at stake, by far the greatest number until the June 7 primary in California, where 548 delegates are on the line.

The latest Real Clear Politics average of all New York polls shows Mrs. Clinton with a 14-point lead over Mr. Sanders in the state.

That lead, however, is shrinking. Less than two months ago, surveys showed Mrs. Clinton with an advantage of more than 20 points.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sanders also has taken aim at Mrs. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, for defending his 1994 anti-crime bill. Virtually everyone agrees the legislation has led to a disproportionate number of Americans — many of them black — in prison for low-level drug offenses.

Mr. Clinton defended the law at a campaign event Thursday, saying it was designed to reduce violence.

Mr. Sanders — who voted for the legislation — has called on the president to apologize.

But the Clinton campaign argues that the senator is twisting the facts for the sake of a convenient political attack.

“I think he’s airbrushing history,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told ABC’s “This Week.” “He won’t do what the president has done, what Hillary has reiterated, which is to say this thing has made the problems worse in some ways. We need to fix it. And that’s why [Mrs. Clinton] has put on a comprehensive reform to end the era of mass incarceration and to really get the job done when it comes to dealing with the problem of overincarceration, what that’s done to communities all across the country.”

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