1600: Sanders in fights with foes of Cuba, fans of Israel – Newsday

Posted By on February 25, 2020

The world according to Bernie

Bernie Sanders is running in front of his rivals with Democratic voters on his progressive domestic policy platform, selling them on such programs as "Medicare for All" and canceling college loans. Could a shift in attention to his outlook on the world put speed bumps on his path to the nomination?

The democratic socialist's mixed take on what communism has done for Cuba since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution isn't new. But it got a fresh airing on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday night. Were very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, its unfair to simply say everything is bad, Sanders said. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?

Sanders drew denunciations from Democrats and Republicans alike in Florida, where Cuban exiles and their offspring are a potent force. Donald Trump narrowly won the battleground state with 29 electoral votes in 2016.

Im totally disgusted and insulted, Lourdes Diaz, the president of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus in Broward County and a Cuban American, told The New York Times. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a childhood refugee from communist Vietnam, tweeted: "Castro was a murderous dictator who oppressed his own people. His 'literacy program' was a cynical effort to spread his dangerous philosophy & consolidate power."

Sanders' foes for the nomination joined the fray. "Fidel Castro left a dark legacy of forced labor camps, religious repression, widespread poverty, firing squads, and the murder of thousands of his own people. But sure, Bernie, lets talk about his literacy program," tweeted Mike Bloomberg (who likely isn't done trying to his explain his own remarks that Chinese President Xi Jinping is not a dictator). Pete Buttigieg tweeted that America needs a president who stands up for human rights after "after four years of looking on in horror as Trump cozied up to dictators."

Also on Sunday, Sanders drew the ire of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its supporters after he tweeted he would not attend the lobbying group's annual conference because he said the organization gives a platform "for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights." The group responded with a defense of the "widely diverse backgrounds" of attendees and called Sanders' comments "odious" and "shameful."

Trump has tried to peel away traditional Jewish Democratic support by contending the party has turned on Israel. Jonathan Greenblatt, a frequent Trump critic who leads the Anti-Defamation League, called Sanders' tweet "offensive." He continued: "At a time when we see a surge of real hate across the US, its irresponsible to describe AIPAC like this." It also could mean trouble for Sanders in, say, Florida.

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Last week's Democratic debate became Bloomberg's turn in the barrel. Will Sanders' emergence as the favorite to win it all make him the top target in Tuesday night's debate from South Carolina?

That's Bloomberg's plan, at least. "It's everyone's last opportunity to really hold him accountable and really challenge his record," a Bloomberg aide said to NBC News about the last debate before Super Tuesday. "And so we have to take on the front-runner on that stage. And that's Bernie."

Sanders' other rivals also have sharpened their attacks on him. But they also need to try to stand out from one another to break the logjam in the Democrats' center lane that has helped Sanders speed to the front.

The debate is set to air from 8 to 10:15 p.m. on CBS and stream online on CBSN.

Joe Biden hoped to make a stand in South Carolina's Democratic primary on Saturday, but if he doesn't stop bleeding support, it could be his last.

An NBC News/Marist poll released Monday showed he was leading Sanders by a scant 27% to 23%, within the margin of error. The survey was conducted last week over four days. Over the first two days, Biden led by 10 points. In the final two days, Biden and Sanders were tied. CNBC reported several key fundraisers have abandoned Biden for Bloomberg.

Biden still predicted he would win by plenty.

Buttigiegs campaign cast itself as the only campaign to have beaten Bernie Sanders this cycle in a fundraising appeal on Monday. The former mayor won more delegates, though not the popular vote, in Iowa.

Amy Klobuchar, who fell flat in Nevada after a good showing in New Hampshire, doesn't figure to make much of an impact in South Carolina. But if she hangs in for Super Tuesday, she's up 6 points on Sanders in her home state of Minnesota, according to a new poll there.

A new poll out of Texas shows a 1-point difference between Biden and Sanders 23% to 22%, with Elizabeth Warren at 18% and Bloomberg at 13%.

There were two remarkable judicial rebukes in recent days one against the Trump administration and its practices, and the other against Trump's most recently convicted adviser, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.

On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor slammed the frequency with which the White House runs to the high court, seeking to stay lower-court decisions against its policies. She also criticized the justices who indulge these requests to jump the line.

I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decision-making process that this court must strive to protect," Sotomayor said.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, slammed by Trump on Twitter, rejected Roger Stone's call for her to remove herself on grounds of bias.

She said she "ruled with care and impartiality," decided "important evidentiary motions in his favor" and kept Stone out on bond "even after he took to social media to intimidate the Court, after he violated conditions imposed by the Court, after he was convicted at trial, and after he was sentenced to a term of incarceration.

The first day of Trump's visit to India was bigger on pageantry than policy, The Associated Press reported. He appeared with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose brand of nationalism mirrors Trump's, for a joint rally the largest of his presidency getting the kind of adulatory reception that has eluded him on many foreign trips.

"America loves India, America respects India and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people," the president said.

Joined by first lady Melania Trump, he took a sunset stroll outside the Taj Mahal. He'd never been there before, although it inspired the name and some design elements for one of his former Atlantic City casino hotels.

A Siena Research Institute poll shows New York Democrats are embracing Sanders and Bloomberg as the top contenders to take on Trump, reports Newsday's Michael Gormley.

Sanders had the backing of 25% to 21% for Bloomberg. Biden ran third at 13%, followed by Warren, 11%; and Buttigieg and Klobuchar, 9% each.

Bernie is trouncing with younger voters, and Mike has a commanding lead with older voters, said Steven Greenberg of the Siena poll. New York's primary will be held on April 28.

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1600: Sanders in fights with foes of Cuba, fans of Israel - Newsday

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