Sanders says age, gender both obstacles to political candidates

Hunter Woodall
Associated Press

Manchester, N.H. – Bernie Sanders made a comparison Sunday between the challenges women face in politics today and his running for president at the age of 78 as the Democratic presidential candidate continues to face questions over his recent feud with Elizabeth Warren on sexism in politics.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a forum broadcast on radio in a New Hampshire Public Radio station, Sunday.

During an hourlong appearance on New Hampshire Public Radio, Sanders was asked if he thinks female candidates have a different experience as presidential candidates than him and whether gender is still an obstacle for female politicians. Sanders answered yes.

“But I think everybody has their own sets of problems,” the Vermont senator said. “I’m 78 years of age. That’s a problem.”

He then went on to note that age concerns could also be a challenge for 38-year-old former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, saying “if you’re looking at Buttigieg, he’s a young guy.”

“And people will say, well he’s too young to be president. You look at this one, she’s a woman,” Sanders said. “So everybody brings some negatives if you’d like. I would just hope very much that the American people look at the totality of a candidate, not at their gender, not at their sexuality, not at their age, but at everything. Nobody is perfect. There ain’t no perfect candidate out there.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a campaign event, Sunday.

Asked after a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday to comment on Sanders’ statement and if being a woman was a problem, Warren said only, “I have no further comment on this.”

Division among Sanders and Warren became fierce last week after the two progressives had largely left the other unscathed for much of the 2020 race. Warren and Sanders disagreement comes over a private 2018 meeting.

Warren contends then that Sanders told her he didn’t think a woman could win the White House. Sanders has vocally disputed that claim, but on Sunday tried to avoid talking about the meeting.

“I really don’t want to get into what was a private conversation,” Sanders said on the public radio program. “But to answer your question, let me just say this, it is hard for me to imagine how anybody in the year 2020 could not believe that a woman could become president of the United States. And if you check my record, I’ve been saying that for 30 years.”


Associated Press writer Will Weissert in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report