Bernie Sanders: Voters will contrast my 'consistency' with Hillary Clinton

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Sen. Bernie Sanders pointed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's evolution on various policy issues, suggesting Sunday his "consistency" was an asset against her in the Democratic presidential primary.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sanders listed a number of progressive stances he had held from the start, that Clinton only recently came around to — opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in particular.

Voters will have to "contrast my consistency and my willingness to stand up to Wall Street and corporations, big corporations, with the secretary," he said.

Take a look at some pictures of Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail:

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Bernie Sanders: Voters will contrast my 'consistency' with Hillary Clinton
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to a crowd gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center during a campaign rally on March 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary elections in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, while Missouri and Illinois remain tight races. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the media after holding a campaign event with United Steelworkers Local 310L, on January 26, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders continues his quest to become the Democratic presidential nominee.. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 24, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, participates in the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Hours before Sunday's Democratic debate, the two top Democratic contenders held a warm-up bout of sorts in multiple separate appearances on political talk shows, at a time when the polling gap between the pair has narrowed in early-voting states. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shakes hands with supporters after outlining his plan to reform the U.S. financial sector on January 5, 2016 in New York City. Sanders is demanding greater financial oversight and greater government action for banks and individuals that break financial laws. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
LEBANON, NH - NOVEMBER 11: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) marches in the Veterans Day Parade November 11, 2015 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Sanders goes into the Democrats second debate this weekend still running strong in the polls.(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. While next Tuesday's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks about the Workplace Democracy Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses striking low-wage contract workers from the US Capitol and religious leaders at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2015 for an interfaith service ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis for a six-day visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Five Democratic presidential candidates are all expected to address the crowd inside the Verizon Wireless Arena. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
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Sanders also he embraced a title that could come to haunt him in the primary, telling host Chuck Todd that "no," he's not a capitalist but rather he identifies himself as a "Democratic Socialist."

"But what I mean is, I've been elected as an Independent throughout my political career. I am running now in the Democratic nomination process," he said.

Though he dismissed the initial question about his economic philosophy, Sanders — who represents Vermont in the Senate as an Independent — held up two socialist countries as examples.

He said the U.S. can look to Denmark and Sweden — "where health care is a right and virtually free to all people, public college education is free" and workers make better wages — for "guidance."

During the interview, Sanders also sought to draw clear distinctions between himself and President Barack Obama.

Sanders criticized Obamacare, the state of Syria and Obama's willingness to negotiate with House Republicans.

The presidential hopeful said "we can do a little better than Obamacare," suggesting he'd "build on" the law by offering Medicare for all Americans.

On foreign policy, Sanders said that the administration's strategy of arming and training moderate Syrian rebels — which the Pentagon recently suspended — "failed" and called Syria a "quagmire inside of a quagmire."

Sanders said Obama had tried to "thread a very, very difficult needle," which was to avoid going into combat in Syria — a point on which he said he agreed with the president. But Sanders opposed the president's request to use military force against ISIS and told "Meet the Press" he'd take a less interventionist approach to battling the group.

"Saudi Arabia and the other countries in the region have got to get their hands dirty, their troops on the ground. I believe we should pay a supportive role, very supportive, but I want to see them, the Muslim regions, lead the effort," he said.

Sanders also suggested that understands the need for the revolution on the stump better than Obama and would be better-equipped to execute it.

"Here is the difference in political outlook between the president and myself: What I understand is that the power of corporate America, Wall Street, the corporate, the media is so great that real change to transform our country does not take place unless millions of people begin to stand up and say very loudly and clearly that the United States government has got to represent all of us, and not just the top 1 percent," he said.

Still, Sanders acknowledged limits to the presidency.

"Now, do I think the Republican speaker of the House will agree with me? No, I don't think so," Sanders said.

He suggested, though, he can overcome that by using the bully pulpit to galvanize voters.

Sanders said he's learned two lessons from Obama's interactions with House Republicans. One is that Obama "actually thought that he could sit down the the Republican leadership" and hammer out some agreements — but "they never had any intention to compromise."

And the second was that "you have to be prepared to mobilize people to take on these big money interests." Sanders says his campaign, because of its groundswell of grassroots support, can become the movement to force policy change that President Obama never enjoyed during his time in office.

"I think we can do it. And I think that's what the bully pulpit is about. And that's what organizing effort's about. And that's what this campaign is about," he said.

Here is the full video of Sanders' appearance on 'Meet the Press':

Bernie Sanders on Drones, Clinton and Capitalism


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