Andrea Mitchell Asks Sanders If He ‘Regrets’ Raising Clinton Sex Scandals?

Near the end of Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate on NBC, co-moderator, Clinton correspondent, and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell served up the lone question on Bill Clinton’s sex scandals in a misleading and vague fashion that allowed Senator Bernie Sanders to dodge the substance of the matter and instead falsely bash the media for even bringing it up.

Mitchell turned to Sanders near the 10:43 p.m. Eastern mark and asked him if he would like to express remorse for having mentioned the former President’s past of repeated sexual misconduct: “Senator Sanders, let me ask you a question, you called Bill Clinton's past transgressions, quote, “totally, totally, totally disgraceful, and unacceptable.” Senator, do you regret saying that?”

As he did in the first debate on Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal, Sanders immediately ignored it and instead sought to take the issue off the table by attacking the media: 

I was asked a question — you know one of the thins, Andrea, and that question, annoys me. I cannot walk down the street, Secretary Clinton knows this, without being told how much I have to attack Secretary Clinton. You want get me on the front page of the paper? I make some vicious attack. I have avoided doing that, trying to run an issue-oriented campaign.

Mitchell interjected to tell Sanders that he “didn't have to answer it that way though,” but Sanders responded by arguing that if he didn’t say something, “there’s another front-page story.”

Sanders continued before co-moderator Lester Holt jumped in to announce the final commercial break: 

Yes, and I mean this seriously, you know that. We've been through this. Yes, his behavior was deplorable, have a said a word? No, I have not. I'm going to debate Secretary Clinton, Governor O'Malley on the issues facing the American people, not Bill Clinton's personal behavior.

Of course, Mitchell made no attempt whatsoever to mention any of the women involved in Bill Clinton’s misconduct (Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, etc.) or hit back at Sanders’s blaming of the media and the fact that Sanders was actually asked about Bill Clinton’s sex scandals by a member of the audience at an Iowa town hall. 

Further, as Politico reported on January 8, “Sanders was responding to a question from an audience member about the former president” and the accompanying video included Sanders thanking the audience member for asking him about it.

The relevant portion of the transcript from NBC’s Democratic Debate on January 17 can be found below.

NBC’s Democratic Debate
January 17, 2016
10:43 p.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL: Senator Sanders, let me ask you a question, you called Bill Clinton's past transgressions, quote, “totally, totally, totally disgraceful, and unacceptable.” Senator, do you regret saying that? 

INDEPENDENT SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (Vt.): I was asked a question — you know one of the thins, Andrea, and that question, annoys me. I cannot walk down the street, Secretary Clinton knows this, without being told how much I have to attack Secretary Clinton. You want get me on the front page of the paper? I make some vicious attack. I have avoided doing that, trying to run an issue-oriented campaign. I was asked a question —

MITCHELL: You didn't have to answer it that way though, why did you? 

SANDERS: Then if I don't answer it, there's another front page story. Yes, and I mean this seriously, you know that. We've been through this. Yes, his behavior was deplorable, have a said a word? No, I have not. I'm going to debate Secretary Clinton, Governor O'Malley on the issues facing the American people, not Bill Clinton's personal behavior.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center