In two interviews Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders largely dismissed newly-published comments from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton about his campaign's appeal to young voters. Before heading out for a series of pro-Clinton rallies in the Midwest, Sanders, who challenged Clinton in the Democratic primaries, told ABC News and CNN in interviews that Clinton's comments, made to donors after the New Hampshire primary and released by an email hack, were basically correct.
"We do have our differences," Sanders told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "Secretary Clinton and I do disagree on issues. But what she was saying there is absolutely correct and that is you got millions of young people, many of whom took out loans in order to go to college, hoping to go out and get decent-paying, good jobs and you know what? They are unable to do that. And, yes, they do want a political revolution, they want to transform the society. They want to make sure that, when they get out of school, they can get a job that pays them wages and salaries commensurate with the education they have. I think that's a very important point and that is an issue that, as a nation, we have got to address."
In the hacked audio, released last week by the Washington Free Beacon, Clinton told a worried donor that Sanders was lapping her with young voters -- "children of the Great Recession" -- because they had bought into a "false promise" of a Sanders presidency that would offer universal health care and free college.
"I don't think you tell idealistic people, particularly young people, that they bought into a false promise," Clinton said.
The clip drew the attention of Donald Trump's campaign on Saturday night, after Politico characterized the Clinton comments as "mocking" of young people. On Twitter, the hashtag #basementdwellers was used to attack Clinton, even though the phrase "basement dwellers" did not appear in the tape. (Clinton referred to millennial voters living in their basements, to say that they were justifiably frustrated, not consigned to failure.) On Sunday afternoon, while dealing with the fallout from the leak of several pages of a 1995 tax return, Trump took another swing at Sanders.
But on Sunday, Sanders batted away several chances to criticize Clinton. He came closest when CNN's Jake Tapper asked if it "bothered" him to hear Clinton dismiss some of his campaign promises as "false."
"Of course it does, but we were in the middle of a campaign," the senator said. "Trust me. If you go to some of the statements that I made about Hillary Clinton, you can see real differences."
When Tapper pushed on the "living in their parents' basement" part of the tape, Sanders said he agreed with Clinton.
"There are young people who went deeply into debt, worked very hard to get a good education, and yet they are getting out of school and they can't find decent-paying jobs," he said. "And that's a major problem. They are living in their parents' basements. And that's the point there."
On Monday, Sanders will begin a three-state swing through Midwestern states where he tied or bested Clinton in the primaries. On Tuesday, he will stump in Minnesota; on Wednesday, he'll campaign in Wisconsin, including his third visit of the year to Madison, the state capital (and largest college town).