Former Vice President Joe Biden demanded Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign apologize for a “doctored” video of him seemingly backing Republican Republican proposal to cut Social Security spending, though the video was not “doctored.”
Biden complained about a video posted by a Twitter user and shared by a campaign adviser. The clip showed Biden saying that then-House Speaker Paul Ryan was “correct” in trying to gut Social Security, a comment his campaign says he made sarcastically and shown in the video without context.
"The Sanders campaign has pushed a video and transcript that were intentionally, deceptively edited to make it seem like Vice President Biden was praising and agreeing with Paul Ryan, when it is clear he was doing the exact opposite," a Biden campaign official said in a statement to NBC News. "In the speech, Biden was reiterating his core belief that we need to undo Trump's tax cuts for the super wealthy and replace them with a tax code that rewards work, not just wealth."
Biden alleged that the video was “doctored” and called for an apology.
"But it is simply a lie, that video that is going around, and ask anybody in the press, it's a flat lie. They've acknowledged that this is a doctored tape," Biden said. "And I think it's beneath him, and I'm looking for his campaign to come forward and disown it, but they haven't done it yet."
The video wasn’t “doctored”:
Politico called Biden’s allegation that the video was “doctored” a “false claim” and the video was “not doctored by Sanders.”
Biden said “PolitiFact looked at it and they doctored the photo, they doctored the piece and it’s acknowledged that it’s a fake.”
But Politifact did not say that it’s a fake. The video took Biden’s comments out of context.
“Biden’s overall message was that ‘folks in the middle class are in trouble’ and that the tax code ‘is widely skewed toward taking care of those at the very top,’” the outlet reported. “The snippet of written text, which the Sanders’ campaign newsletter used, doesn’t relay Biden’s full point.”
Biden went on to say that “we need a pro-growth, progressive tax code that treats workers as job creators, as well, not just investors; that gets rid of unprotective loopholes like stepped-up basis; and it raises enough revenue to make sure that the Social Security and Medicare can stay, it still needs adjustments, but can stay; and pay for the things we all acknowledge will grow the country."
But Biden did support cuts to Social Security:
Sanders responded by pointing out that Biden repeatedly called for cuts to Social Security in response to Biden’s allegation.
"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," Sanders said.
“As early as 1984 and as recently as 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden called for cuts to Social Security in the name of saving the program and balancing the federal budget,” The Intercept reported, noting that “Biden’s support for cutting Social Security, and his general advocacy for budget austerity, made him a leading combatant in the centrist-wing battle against the party’s retreating liberals in the 1980s and ’90s.”
Though Biden currently supports expanding Social Security, he previously acknowledged that he was taking a risky position.
“One of the things my political advisers say to me, is, whoa, don’t touch that third rail,” he told “Meet the Press” in 2007 while he was running in a primary against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Along with his calls to freeze Social Security spending as a senator, Biden was also involved in “grand bargain” negotiations with Republicans as Vice President and reportedly privately backed “means-testing and raising the age” of retirement during the negotiations.