- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 24, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders on Sunday softened his previous comments about growing support for his campaign unsettling global markets, calling the claim “absurd.”

“I fully admit to having a big ego, like many other politicians, but the idea that Bernie Sanders’ candidacy, because it has growing support all over this country, is unsettling world markets is absolutely absurd,” the Vermont senator said on ABC’s “This Week.”

He walked back comments he had made Saturday while campaigning in Iowa, where he proudly referenced a Wall Street Journal article several times that said the viability of his campaign is one reason global markets had been unsettled.

“Stephen Schwarzman, who is the CEO of Blackstone, one of the major financial institutions in this country, says that markets are unsettled because of geopolitical risks, the slowdown in China and because Bernie Sanders is a viable candidate,” Mr. Sanders said Saturday at a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa.

“It appears that we have Wall Street a little bit nervous, and that’s a good thing. And then we got the entire political establishment heading to Iowa this week. And it seems to me that some of my friends in the political establishment are afraid,” said Mr. Sanders, an avowed democratic socialist.

The central theme of his campaign has been criticism of the size and influence of corporate banks in the country, and he said Sunday that he is happy he is drawing the attention of Wall Street.

“Wall Street’s greed and recklessness and illegal behavior drove this economy into the worst depression since the Great Depression,” Mr. Sanders said. “I believe that we have to break up the major financial institutions. We have to reestablish Glass-Steagall. And that we are now gaining the attention of Wall Street tells me that our campaign is doing very well.”

Mr. Sanders responded to the endorsements establishment candidates like Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton received Saturday from primary state newspapers The Des Moines Register and The Concord Monitor. The papers’ editorial boards said Mr. Sanders, who is leading the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, lacks foreign policy experience.

Mr. Sanders cited his vote against the war in Iraq as an indication of his good foreign policy judgment, but said he does not need official endorsements to maintain his growing momentum.

“We are taking on the entire establishment,” he said. “We are taking on the economic establishment, we’re taking on the political establishment, and with all due respect, we are taking on the media establishment.”

“I expect that Secretary Clinton will get a lot of endorsements from mainstream media,” Mr. Sanders said. “But I have the endorsement, and I’m very proud to say, of 2.5 million individual contributions to my campaign.”

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