After election, Sanders say it's time to put right wing 'on the defense'

By:  Sam Hemingway

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wants President Barack Obama to stay in campaign mode and use the momentum of his big re-election win to rally support for plans to preserve programs such as Social Security and require the wealthy pay more in taxes.

"The president said last night that maybe he's going to spend a little more time out of the Oval Office and go around the country, and I think that's an excellent idea," Sanders, who also won re-election Tuesday, said the day after the votes were tallied. "We have got to put the right-wingers on the defense right now."

Sanders, in a post-election interview at his Burlington offices, said Obama needs to travel the country and make the case for his deficit-reduction plans, even if means visiting staunchly conservative places including Oklahoma and Mississippi.

"He's got to go to those states," Sanders said. "If he can talk to working people there about the reality of their senators and congressmen supporting tax breaks for billionaires while they want to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, I think he can have a real impact in getting those constituents to put pressure on their elected officials."

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks with the Free Press at his office on Church Street in Burlington on Wednesday. / GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS