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Mitch Perry Report for 8.31.15 — Taking Bernie Sanders seriously

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The biggest news on the presidential front this weekend was the Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll that shows Bernie Sanders down just seven points from Hillary Clinton’s support in Iowa, 37-30 percent.

The presumptive front-runner has lost a third of her supporters since May in the nation’s first caucus state.

So will the mainstream media begin taking him more seriously?

ABC’s Martha Raddatz is.

Yesterday on ABC’s This Week, she asked the Vermont senator about two things missing from his website: national security and foreign policy.

Sanders response wasn’t that impressive.

“In all fairness, we’ve only been in this race for three and a half months,” he said, as if that made any sense. “But you’re absolutely right, foreign policy is a huge issue. Let me just say a word or two about that. And we are going to spend more time on that.”

Uh, not a very good answer. Obviously, the Sanders candidacy has caught fire with progressives by talking about the collapse of the middle class and income inequality. Nobody has been asking about his stances on handing ISIS or Vladimir Putin. Hillary Clinton isn’t really talking too much about foreign affairs, to be fair.

Meanwhile, it seems like that’s all the GOP presidential candidates are discussing.

Sanders acted like he’d never been asked the question before. Maybe because those in the media haven’t been taking him seriously enough to entertain his thoughts on foreign policy should he become commander in chief.

He’s gaining strength in the race, but the Democratic Party establishment looks flat footed in dealing with competition. Martin O’Malley went off on Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Minneapolis on Friday for the fact that there will be only four (I thought there were going to be six) sanctioned DNC debates, which seems designed to protect HRC.

By the way, these reports that Clinton is telling Democrats interested in a Joe Biden candidacy about how many super delegates she already has pledged to her? Doesn’t that sound a bit desperate in late August of 2015?

Democrats like to talk a lot about how the GOP is out of control with the Trump phenomenon. However, their leaders don’t seem up to inviting an open contest.

In other news..

Among the most interesting discussions that took place in Tampa at the RPOF meeting last week was hearing GOP pollster/author Kristen Solis Anderson talking about the millennial vote.

For the first time this year, all four of the GOP 2016 U.S. Senate candidates were in the same room together — Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Todd Wilcox, David Jolly and Ron DeSantis. Our report.

RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia denied rumors that he is plotting a coup to become a future speaker of the Florida House.

And frequent Sunday morning public affairs viewers are no doubt familiar with Mike Rogers, now the former House Intelligence chairman. The Michigan Republican is still very involved in national security issues, however, and he told us in Tampa on Friday how little he thinks of Barack Obama’s foreign policy prescriptions.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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