Sanders says Biden winning African American support by 'running with his ties to Obama'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) said Wednesday that his Democratic presidential primary opponent former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE is winning African American voters’ support by running on his ties to President Obama. 

Asked by MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowWebb: The modern age of dissent versus riot Cable news audience numbers jump amid coronavirus, protests Demings: ‘America is on fire’ and Trump ‘is walking around with gasoline’ MORE on his inability to win over black voters, Sanders said he’s “running against somebody who has touted his relationship with Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden Valerie Jarrett: ‘Democracy depends upon having law enforcement’ MORE” throughout the entirety of his campaign, adding that Obama is “enormously popular” with the majority of Democrats and African American voters.

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“[It’s] not that I’m not popular; Biden is running with his ties to Obama,” Sanders told Maddow. “And that’s working well.” 

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Pressed on his lack of support with black voters back in his 2016 race, as well, Sanders said he was running against former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE as a “virtually unknown” candidate. 

“Now I’m running against Barack Obama’s vice president,” he said. 

Support from black voters propelled Biden to his first win in South Carolina and boosted him in wins across Southern states in races on Super Tuesday. Biden is now slightly leading Sanders in the delegate count, although Sanders has the opportunity to take the lead once the delegates from California are finished being allocated. 

Much of Biden’s boost has been credited to his endorsement from House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). The congressman said Sanders did not ask for his endorsement. 

Sanders told Maddow that’s true. 

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“It is no secret, Jim is a very nice guy, his politics are not my politics,” Sanders said. “[There’s] no way in God’s earth he was going to be endorsing me.” 

Despite Sanders’s critique of Biden capitalizing on his relationship with Obama, the Vermont senator on Wednesday released his own ad featuring the former president.

He told Maddow that although Obama is not his “best friend,” he has a lot of respect for the former president, who has repeatedly said that he will refrain from endorsing a candidate until after the nominating process is completed. 

“I know there’s enormous pressure on him to support Biden,” Sanders said. “The fact that he’s not doing that makes me respect them even more.”

Sanders also told Maddow that the former two-term Democratic president is not part of the “Democratic establishment” that Sanders says he is campaigning against.

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