CNN Reporter 'Felt Bad' for Clinton Campaign After Bernie's Last-Minute Health Care Plan Dump

On Monday's New Day, CNN's Phil Mattingly revealed his sympathy for Hillary Clinton's campaign. John Berman pointed out how Clinton's rival, Bernie Sanders, unveiled his Medicare-for-all health care plan mere hours before Sunday's Democratic presidential debate on NBC. Mattingly remarked, "I felt bad for the Clinton staffers who had so many great lines written up about his health care plan and its lack of details — that they just had to toss into the wastebasket two hours before — very, very depressing on that end." [video below]

Berman asserted that "the Sanders campaign did something very clever" in revealing the "details of his Medicare-for-all plan about two hours before the debate. Hillary Clinton pushed him on it." After playing a clip of an exchange between the Democratic presidential contenders on the health care issue, the CNN journalist continued that "it was interesting. It's pragmatism versus purity in a way....But Hillary Clinton is now taking this to Bernie Sanders and — you know, Mark [Preston] and Jackie [Kucinich] say Sanders acquitted himself well, but he's going to have to answer these questions now for the next two weeks every day."

Mattingly replied with his "I felt bad" line about the Clinton campaign staffers, and added that Sanders "fought her, kind of, to a standstill on this issue. But all this does is open up for more attacks....the Clinton campaign thinks not only do they have an issue, they have a winning issue that they can really hammer home in Iowa."

The transcript of the relevant portion of the panel discussion segment from the January 18, 2016 edition of CNN's New Day, starting five minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour:

JOHN BERMAN: Look, the Sanders campaign did something very clever. They put out the details of his Medicare-for-all plan about two hours before the debate. Hillary Clinton pushed him on it. Let's listen to what she said.

[CNN Graphic: "Sanders Releases Health Care Plan Before Debate"]

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from NBC Democratic presidential debate): There are things we can do to improve it, but to tear it up and start over again — pushing our country back into that kind of a contentious debate, I think, is the wrong direction.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D), VERMONT: No one is tearing this up. We're going to go forward. We're not going to tear up the Affordable Care Act. I helped write it. But we are going to move, on top of that, to a Medicare-for-all system.

[CNN Graphic: "Sanders: 'No One Is Tearing Up' ObamaCare"]

BERMAN: You know, Phil, it was interesting. It's pragmatism versus purity in a way. Eric Bradner of CNN Politics put it like that. I think that's a good way to describe it there. But Hillary Clinton is now taking this to Bernie Sanders and — you know, Mark [Preston] and Jackie [Kucinich] say Sanders acquitted himself well, but he's going to have to answer these questions now for the next two weeks every day.

[CNN Graphic: "Sanders Touts 'Medicare For All' Health System; Democrats Clash Over Health Care; Clinton: Sanders Health Care Plans Requires Tax Hike"]

PHIL MATTINGLY: I felt bad for the Clinton staffers who had so many great lines written up about his health care plan and its lack of details — that they just had to toss into the wastebasket two hours before (Michaela Pereira laughs) — very, very depressing on that end. Look, I think on the health care issue — while Bernie Sanders did have a plan and it was released, what it actually does is open more doors. It was a seven-page proposal for a complete overhaul of the health care market.

Now, last night — I think Jackie and Mark are absolutely right. He fought her, kind of, to a standstill on this issue. But all this does is open up for more attacks. And I think one of the interesting things you're going to see — both on guns and on health care — is the Clinton campaign thinks not only do they have an issue, they have a winning issue that they can really hammer home in Iowa. And that last night, while he does have a plan and while he did well in the debate last night, they really feel like they've got grounds to actually move things forward in their favor over the next couple weeks.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center