Why Bernie Sanders Went on the Attack Against Joe Biden

Over the weekend, Mr. Biden accused the Sanders campaign of deliberately distorting his record on Social Security, prompting Mr. Shakir to issue a scathing attack on Mr. Biden. On Monday, Mr. Sanders apologized to Mr. Biden after a top surrogate for the Sanders campaign published an op-ed that claimed the former vice president had “a big corruption problem.”

Mr. Biden later thanked Mr. Sanders on Twitter for the apology, adding: “These kinds of attacks have no place in this primary. Let’s all keep our focus on making Donald Trump a one-term president.”

The truce was short-lived. Mr. Biden continued to fund-raise off the candidates’ clashes.

And on Tuesday night, there were the dueling videos over Social Security. “Bernie’s campaign is not telling the truth,” Mr. Biden’s video said.

Mr. Sanders’s video, which he quickly tweeted out on Tuesday night in response, features Mr. Biden saying in the past that he wanted to freeze federal spending including Social Security. “When I argued if we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well,” Mr. Biden says. The video then cuts to Mr. Sanders declaring: “We are not going to cut Social Security, we’re going to expand benefits.”

In his decades serving as a senator from Delaware, Mr. Biden at times supported freezes and proposals that worried some Social Security advocates. He has also released a plan that calls for strengthening Social Security and expanding certain benefits.

On Wednesday morning, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Mr. Biden demurred when asked if the attacks from the Sanders campaign were dishonest. But in suggesting that his past statements on Social Security were being taken out of context, he invoked Mr. Sanders’s record on gun control, an area that has previously drawn scrutiny for the senator from Vermont.

“It’s like my going back and pointing out how Bernie voted against the Brady Bill five times while I was trying to get it passed when he was in the House, or how he voted to, you know, protect gun manufacturers,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s the only group in America you can’t sue. I mean, he’s made up for that. He’s indicated that was past.”

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