Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders during Sanders' swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Senate in 2013. (Photo: Wikimedia/cc)

Backing Bernie's Bold Vision, Biden Knocks Hillary's "No We Can't" Mantra

"I don't think any Democrat's ever won saying, 'We can't think that big,'" the vice president said.

Nika Knight

Although Vice President Joe Biden has promised to stay neutral on the Democratic presidential candidates this campaign season, he offered high praise for Bernie Sanders' message in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday: Biden will "take Mr. Sanders' aspirational approach over Mrs. Clinton's caution any day," the newspaper reports.

"I like the idea of saying, 'We can do much more,' because we can," Biden told the Times.

The vice president had harsh words for Clinton's call for slow, incremental change over political revolution. Biden said, "I don't think any Democrat's ever won saying, 'We can't think that big—we ought to really downsize here because it's not realistic," he said in a mocking tone, according to the newspaper. "C'mon man, this is the Democratic Party! I'm not part of the party that says, 'Well, we can't do it.'"

Biden has praised Sanders' campaign message before. Sanders "is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real," Biden told CNN in January. "And that is the absolute enormous concentration of wealth in a small group of people, with the middle class [...] being left out."

In contrast, Biden said at the time, "It's relatively new for Hillary to talk about that. Hillary's focus has been on other things up to now, and that's been Bernie's—nobody questions Bernie's authenticity on those issues."

Biden's own career, however, has coincided "with the stagnation in middle-class incomes, especially for Americans without college degrees, which both parties have failed to durably remedy," the New York Times observes.

"That is a failure," Biden acknowledged to the newspaper.

On Thursday, Biden emphasized his support for Sanders' call for radical change, telling the New York Times that U.S. presidents "have always been told by really smart people: 'Don't push something that you can't succeed in—it diminishes your power.' I completely disagree with that proposition."

"Everything I've ever cared about," Biden continued, "with the exception of the president's brilliant passage of the Affordable Care Act, takes time. The only way to get these big things done is talk about them."

Sanders approved of Biden's message:

Sanders repeated Biden's praise at his campaign stops in Pennsylvania on Thursday, remarking to an exuberant, overflowing crowd in Scranton, "I think the vice president—born and raised in Scranton—I think the vice president is exactly right."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Calling New Eviction Ban 'Just a Start,' Omar Says Rent Should Be Canceled Until End of Pandemic

"We have the House, Senate, and White House—there are no excuses for our inability to act. We have the power to stop the next eviction crisis and must act now."

Jake Johnson ·


Conceding Defeat in Ohio Special Election, Nina Turner Says 'Our Justice Journey Continues'

"We are going to continue to travel all over this country to ensure that progressives are not left alone when evil lurks. Until justice rings for all, justice rings for none."

Jake Johnson ·


'I Think He Should Resign': Biden Joins Chorus of Demands for Cuomo to Step Down

Calls for the New York Democratic governor's ouster are growing after an investigation found that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of state and federal law.

Jessica Corbett ·


Cori Bush, Progressive Lawmakers and Activists Hailed for New CDC Eviction Moratorium

"I think the message here today is clear," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "It's that everyday people can make a change. We can always demand better."

Brett Wilkins ·


As Biden Touts 110+ Million Vaccine Donations to the World, US Urged to Go Much Further

"The president has said that the U.S. will serve as a vaccine arsenal for the world," said one campaigner. "Ten thousand people die each day waiting for ambitious action to match this vision."

Jessica Corbett ·