Stephen Colbert Showers Sanders with Softballs

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Following last week’s somewhat pressing interview (compared to softball questions Democrats usually get from the media) between Stephen Colbert and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders followed in his colleague’s footsteps as he appeared on Thursday’s The Late Show, where he was met with the same lineup of probing questions regarding Medicare for All.

To warm the night up, Colbert could not resist engaging in a topic he is well versed in, excoriating President Trump and cheering his supposed downfall after news of the recent Impeachment Inquiry:

 


One of the things that people are saying is that the White House is caught a little flat-footed by how fast this story is moving. Is that-they were thinking maybe they could get out like some sort of redacted transcript or maybe slow walk this for a while until things came off the boil, but Nancy Pelosi immediately went to Impeachment Inquiry. Do you think that was the right thing to do, to go that fast?

Failing to mention the transcript was released at the order of President Trump himself, Sanders voraciously jumped at the given opportunity to push for Impeachment; “I do. I mean I've been calling for an Impeachment Inquiry for months. And I think that this Ukranian business-using National Security money- designed to protect the people of America.”

Continuing the Trump-bashing colloquy, Colbert slammed Republicans for convoluting a “simple” action:


One of the things, I want to know what you think about this, is that some of the Republicans, some of the President's allies have said oh, this thing is so complicated. It's actually strangely simple. Because, you hear what the President has to say, you understand the motivation completely and there isn't that much to explain. He wanted this dirt, he had some leverage and he used it.

Later in the program, Colbert took it upon himself to ask a somewhat challenging question of Sanders surrounding Medicare for All, though he did put in a disclaimer to apologize in advance if he sounded too much like a Republican:


Now, Senator Warren was on here last week, and I asked her about her plans for Medicare for All. And I'm going to ask you the question that I asked her -- at the risk of being accused of trumpeting Republican talking points, is there an increase in taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All? Or, rather, where would the tax burden go to pay for that?


Unlike his Democratic counterpart, Warren, Sanders gave a straight answer; “…Is healthcare free? No, it is not. So what we do is exempt the first $29,000 of a person's income, you make less than $29,000, you pay nothing in taxes. Above that, in a Progressive way, with the wealthiest people in this country paying the largest percentage, people do pay more in taxes.”

Shockingly, Colbert did not stop there, as he dug in on his quest for deeper answers; “In Canada and in the U.K., two of the places you often point to where healthcare has worked in sort of a Medicare for All style, or national healthcare system…There are supplemental treatments you can get if you pay out of pocket to a doctor who basically is not in the Medicare for All plan. if I wanted a different treatment or somebody not in Medicare for All, would I be able to pay somebody else?”

With deserved props going to Colbert, he also asked the nagging question on many peoples’ minds: “So there would still be some sort of private market?”

It speaks volumes to the lack of journalistic integrity in the liberal media that one would classify these as “hardball” questions for a Democratic presidential candidate.

Transcript below:

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

9/26/19

11:57:59

STEPHEN COLBERT: I'm glad you're here because, big doings in DC. Obviously I want to talk about your campaign, but let me just hit you here as a Senator. Are you at all insulted that Trump didn't try to get dirt on you from Ukraine? What am I- What am I chopped liver? What are you thinking when you hear this?

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, what I'm thinking is that Donald Trump is probably the most corrupt President in the modern history of this country. And that the Impeachment Inquiry has got to move as quickly as possible. He is really an embarrassment to our country. And let's get moving on the Impeachment Inquiry.

COLBERT: One of the things that people are saying is that the White House is caught a little flat-footed by how fast this story is moving. Is that they were thinking maybe they could get out like some sort of redacted transcript or maybe slow walk this for a while until things came off the boil, but Nancy Pelosi immediately went to Impeachment Inquiry. Do you think that was the right thing to do, to go that fast?

SANDERS: I do. I mean I've been calling for an Impeachment Inquiry for months. And I think that this Ukranian business-using National Security money- designed to protect the people of America.

COLBERT: The money that we all give in taxes.

SANDERS: The taxpayers

COLBERT: It's our money.

SANDERS: Right. And use that as leverage to try to get dirt on a political opponent and then trying to cover that up, this is an outrage on top of an outrage, and I think this is kind of taking millions of people to say, you know what? Enough is enough with this guy.

COLBERT: One of the things, I want to know what you think about this, is that some of the Republicans, some of the President's allies have said oh, this thing is so complicated. It's actually stangly simple. Because, you hear what the President has to say, you understand the motivation completely and there isn't that much to explain. He wanted this dirt, he had some leverage and he used it.

SANDERS: I agree, this is not complicated, and it's consistent with his behavior.

COLBERT: Right. It's on brand.

(...)

COLBERT: Now, since last we were together, you have announced your candidacy for President of the United States. You're running. We've had the debates. In 2016, four years ago, you were the Progressive. Now a lot of people have picked up your banner and are running with a lot of your original ideas. Do you ever want to turn to somebody and say, hey, I put my name on that yogurt, you can't take that! That's my Medicare for All with fruit on the bottom!

SANDERS: No, look what I am proud of, is that the ideas I talked about four years ago throughout this country, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. Making public colleges and universities tuition free. Canceling student debt in this country, which is something I think we have to do, making sure that we understand that climate change is in fact a major national security issue, and I'm very proud to have introduced the most comprehensive climate change program that any candidate for President has ever introduced, and then you've got the issue of healthcare. Four years ago, I was here saying healthcare is a human right, it is not a privilege, we have got to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and of the insurance companies and guarantee healthcare to every man, woman and child in this country as a human right.

COLBERT: Now, Senator Warren was on here last week, and I asked her about her plans for Medicare for All. And I'm going to ask you the question that I asked her -- at the risk of being accused of trumpeting Republican talking points, is there an increase in taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All? Or, rather where would the tax burden go to pay for that?

SANDERS: Okay. Under my legislation, 15 co-sponsors, I believe, in the Senate now -- nobody in America will pay any more premiums. I just talked to a woman the other day that pays $1,700 a month, $20,000 a year, gone. No more co-payments, gone. No more out of pocket expenses, gone. Nobody will go bankrupt. Right now 500,000 people in America go bankrupt because of medical bills, all of that is gone. Nobody in America under my bill will pay more than $200 a year in total for their prescription drugs, and we'll stop the ripping off of the American people by the pharmaceutical industry. Now having said that, is healthcare free? No, it is not. So what we do is exempt the first $29,000 of a person's income, you make less than $29,000, you pay nothing in taxes. Above that, in a Progressive way, with the wealthiest people in this country paying the largest percentage, people do pay more in taxes. But if I say to you, that right now you're paying $20,000 a year in a tax called a premium for the insurance companies, that's gone and then I say, Stephen, you're paying $10,000 a year now to the federal government, your $10,000 to the good, you would ask me, where do I sign up for that?

COLBERT: In Canada and in the U.K., two of the places you often point to where healthcare has worked in sort of a Medicare for All style, or national healthcare system.

SANDERS: They are different systems.

COLBERT: Different systems. There are supplemental treatments you can get if you pay out of pocket to a doctor who basically is not in the Medicare for All plan. if I wanted a different treatment or somebody not in Medicare for All, would I be able to pay somebody else?

SANDERS: If you wanted cosmetic surgery, all basic healthcare needs-

SANDERS: But here is the point, we are covering all basic healthcare needs. Medicare is a very strong program, and all I want to do over a four-year period is expand it to everybody, and include dental care, hearing AIDS and eyeglasses and home healthcare as well. So we cover mental illness, we cover all basic healthcare needs. Somebody wants cosmetic surgery, fine, go to some private insurance, but we cover all basic healthcare needs and the overwhelming majority of the American people will be paying less for healthcare than they are today.

COLBERT: So there would still be some sort of private market?

SANDERS: For non-basic healthcare services.

(...)

COLBERT: Senator, let me ask you this, last week the working families party endorsed Elizabeth Warren but they endorsed you in 2016, so for people who look at that endorsement and they think, well, they must be the same people, what differentiates you and Elizabeth Warren? How as a casual observer would I tell your ideas apart from her ideas?

SANDERS: Senator Warren will run her own campaign and I'm running my campaign, but this is what I would say -- if you are concerned about the enormous threat of climate change, and if you think we should listen to the scientists and develop a program that ends our dependence on fossil fuel as quickly as possible and moves to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, we have introduced the most comprehensive climate change legislation anybody has ever introduced. Second of all, I happen to believe, as you've heard me say many times, that the level of income and wealth inequality in this country is grotesque. We have 500,000 people sleeping out on the streets tonight, while a guy like Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon, is worth like something like $170 billion, and what I have proposed is a very strong tax on wealth that will have Mr. Bezos and all the multi-billionaires start paying their fair share of taxes so we can deal with the affordable housing crisis in America, that we deal and create universal affordable childcare for working families and a health fund, the Medicare for All proposal.

COLBERT: Where does this wealth tax start? I'm asking for a friend.

SANDERS: Getting nervous are you?

COLBERT: I'm asking for a friend who has a tv show. I was just curious.

SANDERS: If you have more than $32 million dollars in wealth-

COLBERT: Personal wealth, something like that?

SANDERS: Yes.

COLBERT: How do you go get it? Because those people already have that money, how do you go get that cash?

SANDERS: Well, that's a good question.

COLBERT: Thank you.

SANDERS: You're welcome. And we put into our proposal the mechanism to do that.

 

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