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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: The Biden-Sanders Debate


In this video, we review three claims from the first head-to-head presidential primary debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders:

  • Biden denied that he ever talked on the Senate floor “about the necessity” of “cutting Social Security,” as Sanders claimed. Biden did call for a one-year spending freeze in 1984 that would have included Social Security. But Sanders went too far in claiming Biden has a history of “advocat[ing]” for such cuts.
  • Biden gave a misleading account of his role in a 2005 bankruptcy law, which made it harder for individuals to file for bankruptcy and easier for credit card companies to collect debt. He claimed he “did not” help write the bill, although he had a long history of working on the bill and supporting it.  
  • Biden stretched the facts when he said Sanders “voted against” an auto bailout. Sanders supported a $15 billion package for automakers in 2008, but opposed another bill creating the Troubled Asset Relief Program and providing $350 billion for banks. President George W. Bush used TARP funds to support the auto industry, although Sanders could not have known that when he voted. Sanders did vote to block an additional $350 billion in TARP funds, which were largely for financial institutions — except $4 billion for automakers.

For more on these claims and others from the March 15 debate, see our story “FactChecking the March Democratic Debate.”