Democratic strategist and self-described Hillary Clinton supporter Maria Cardona suggested that Bernie Sanders could beat Clinton in the critical early-state nomination races in Iowa and New Hampshire during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl began the segment by playing some clips of Sanders appearances mixed with supporters talking about their support for the presidential hopeful.
You can watch the discussion, below, followed by the transcript:
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I have to say, watching all these candidates, I don’t think we have seen more enthusiasm for any candidate, Democrat or Republican, than we have seen for Bernie Sanders. So, Maria, what is going on if we have a situation — Hillary Clinton supposed to be coronation here, she now finds all of the energy in the Democratic primary is now with a 73-year-old self-described socialist from Vermont.
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The media has always thought this was going to be a coronation. The Clinton campaign has never thought that this was going to be a coronation, and that’s why she’s fighting to earn every single vote.
Look, Bernie is from a neighboring state. We shouldn’t be surprised that there is so much enthusiasm for him. And in fact, we shouldn’t be surprised if he does very well in New Hampshire or in Iowa, and perhaps even wins.
I think this is good for the Democratic Party, Jonathan, especially because Democrats also did not want a coronation. Ultimately, as a Hillary supporter, I think she will be the nominee, but she will be that much better of a nominee and that much better of a general election candidate, because of Bernie.
SARA FAGEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The little discussed fact in the politics today is that the democratic base has moved much farther to the left than the Republican base has moved to the right. And that’s a fact over the last two decades.
He is saying what many Democratic activists what to hear, which is why his crowds are big not only New Hampshire, but also in Iowa, and pretty much wherever he goes.
I think this is a real challenge for Mrs. Clinton. He’s not going to be the nominee, but he’s going to cause her an incredible headache and move her to the left and potentially make her unelectable in a general election.
STEVE INSKEEP, NPR: A bit of history comes to mind. In 1992, Pat Buchanan challenged the first President Bush, never got anywhere close to him as I recall in the primaries, but he was getting votes…
KARL: In New Hampshire he got like…
INSKEEP: …31 percent.
Exactly, so it’s like, wow, he got a third of the vote. He was crushed in that primary, but nevertheless it was seen as a sign of weakness for President Bush. And so, the risk for Hillary Clinton is she is seen as weak.
CARDONA: But let’s also remember no Democrat has broken 40 percent in Iowa unless you are from there or unless you are an incumbent or VP.
So, again, I think expectations need to be tamped down here.
KARL: You’re bringing down the expectations. I have — we’re almost out of time, but we had the two big announcements, Trump and Jeb Bush. And if you looked at the sentiment online and the discussions online, Trump was everywhere.
CARDONA: Well, Trump was everywhere…
KARL: What kind of impact is he going to have on this race?
CARDONA: I think that he unfortunately for the Republican Party really cheapens the discourse of this debate, because, look, there’s going to be really tense moments in this race, but none of these candidates, with the exception of Trump, are going to refer to each other as losers, crooks, liars, any number of other insults. And he really is just about the sound bite and getting on the news.
KARL: I mean, he actually even criticized Bush for not wearing a tie.
Anyway, that — we’re out of time. Thank you to the roundtable.