- The Washington Times - Monday, February 24, 2020

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont on Monday slapped down reports that he considered launching a primary challenge against then-President Obama in 2012, chalking it up to the “silly season” of the nomination race, and voicing his admiration for the ex-president’s record.

“I did not give any consideration to running for president of the United States until 2015,” Mr. Sanders said at a CNN Town Hall in Charleston, where the top Democratic presidential candidates are set to square off in a debate Tuesday.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden has tried to make the most of his ties to Mr. Obama in the closing days of the primary race in South Carolina, where black voters comprise roughly 60% of the Democratic electorate and are key to reviving Mr. Biden’s struggling bid.

The Biden campaign rolled out a digital ad this week highlighting a report in The Atlantic that said then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada had to intervene to stop Mr. Sanders from running against Mr. Obama.

“Not true at all,” Mr. Sanders said in the town hall Monday. “Call up Harry and he will deny it.”

Mr. Sanders said Mr. Biden has been a friend for years.

“But you know what happens in campaigns, at the end of the season it is called ‘silly season’ and people say things they should not say,” Mr. Sanders said.

“In 2012 I was very busy running for re-election to the U.S. Senate from the state of Vermont, that is what I was focusing on,” he said. “In fact I ended up campaigning for Obama and am a strong supporter of all Barack Obama has accomplished.”

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