Senator Sanders, Why Do You Hate President Obama?

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Most of last night’s debate was pretty familiar territory. But toward the end, Hillary Clinton unleashed a brand new attack:

Today Senator Sanders said that President Obama failed the presidential leadership test….In the past he has called him weak. He has called him a disappointment. He wrote a forward for a book that basically argued voters should have buyers’ remorse when it comes to President Obama’s leadership and legacy.

….The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans….What I am concerned about is not disagreement on issues, saying that this is what I would rather do, I don’t agree with the president on that. Calling the president weak, calling him a disappointment, calling several times that he should have a primary opponent when he ran for re-election in 2012, you know, I think that goes further than saying we have our disagreements.

….I understand we can disagree on the path forward. But those kinds of personal assessments and charges are ones that I find particularly troubling.

The problem Sanders has here is that this is a pretty righteous attack. Back in 2011 he really did say, “I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president…who cannot believe how weak he has been, for whatever reason, in negotiating with Republicans and there’s deep disappointment.” And he really did push the idea of a primary challenger to Obama. And he really did write a blurb for Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama let Progressives Down. So there’s not much he can do about this attack except sound offended and insist that everyone has a right to criticize the president.

But will it work? It was actually the only hit last night that struck me as genuinely effective. Obama still has a lot of fans who are probably surprised to hear that Sanders has been so tough on their guy. If Hillary Clinton keeps up this line, it might be pretty damaging.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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