INDIANOLA, Iowa — Joe Biden is accusing Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign of sharing a “doctored video” that Biden says incorrectly reflects his stance on Social Security.
At a campaign stop at Simpson College in Indianola on Saturday, a woman in the crowd asked the former vice president about his stance on Social Security. She said people have called her to express concerns about it. Biden and Sanders are among the top-polling candidates ahead of the Iowa caucuses, which are less than three weeks away.
“Well, let’s get the record straight,” Biden said. “I’m not going to blame anybody, but — well, let me just say the facts. There is a little doctored video going around.”
He said a Sanders adviser has been sharing a clip that seems to suggest Biden agrees with former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, in wanting to cut Social Security and Medicaid. The clip is a portion of an address Biden gave to the Brookings Institution in 2018 that Biden campaign officials say was deceptively edited.
“Ask anybody in the press — it’s a flat lie,” Biden said.
PolitiFact rated the claim false, and Biden’s campaign told PolitiFact this month that Biden was mocking Ryan’s position.
“I have been a gigantic supporter of Social Security from the beginning,” Biden said on Saturday. He referenced his plan for Social Security, which his website calls “the bedrock of American retirement.” It would provide additional money for the program by making higher earners pay a higher share of their earnings into the program than they currently do. It would also increase benefits, including giving more to older beneficiaries, and protect people from losing benefits when a spouse dies.
Biden criticized the Sanders campaign for sharing the video.
“I’m looking for his campaign to come forward and disown it, but they haven’t done it yet,” Biden said.
In a statement Saturday, Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, accused Biden of dodging questions about his record.
“Joe Biden should be honest with voters and stop trying to doctor his own public record of consistently and repeatedly trying to cut Social Security. The facts are very clear: Biden not only pushed to cut Social Security — he is on tape proudly bragging about it on multiple occasions,” Shakir said in the statement.
The claim isn’t the only criticism the Sanders campaign has of Biden’s record on Social Security. Earlier this month, Sanders shared a video of himself on CNN in which he criticized Biden’s record on trade, bankruptcy laws and the Iraq War.
“Joe Biden has been on the floor of the Senate talking about the need to cut Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid,” Sanders says in the clip.
A Sanders campaign newsletter this month shared a clip of Biden on the Senate floor in 1995 talking about advocating for a freeze in federal spending.
“When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security, as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans’ benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government,” Biden says in the 1995 clip.
Stephen Gruber-Miller covers the Iowa Statehouse and politics for the Register. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 515-284-8169. Follow him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.
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