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Bernie Sanders on Guns, Drones, TPP and Vice President Joe Biden

Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down with NBC’s Chuck Todd for a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday on “Meet the Press.” During the interview the democratic candidate spoke about drones, trade pacts and gun legislation.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down with NBC’s Chuck Todd for a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday on “Meet the Press.” During the interview, Sanders suggested his “consistency” on issues was a major selling point against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, and criticized some of President Obama’s policies. Here’s what else you need to know from Sen. Sanders’ interview:

GUNS: Sanders defended himself on gun control against attacks on his relatively moderate record on the issue, saying that when he voted to restrict gun access it was “at political peril.” The Vermont senator has come under fire by progressives recently for opposing some gun control reforms, and in his defense he’s noted that he was simply reflecting the will of his constituents, as Vermont has a widespread hunting culture and very few restrictions on gun ownership.

But during his interview, he seemed to acknowledge a misstep on one key controversial gun control issue: A law that protected gun manufacturers and dealers from prosecution for crimes committed with the guns they supplied. Sanders said it was “a complicated vote, and I’m willing to see changes in that division,” in particular noting that some manufacturers are knowingly selling to buyers who shouldn’t be purchasing guns.

TRADE: Sanders has made opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement a central plank of his bid for president, but was unable to offer much detail on what he’d do to reverse it if it’s approved and he’s elected.

Asked what he’d do on “day one” of his presidency to undo it, Sanders said “without going into all the details, there are things that we can do.” Pressed on whether he could stop the full implementation of the agreement, Sanders said “I don’t know — I don’t want to be definitive about it.”

BIDEN: Sanders gave his stock answer when asked about the potential for Vice President Joe Biden to enter the presidential race, saying “he’s a very decent guy” and the decision of whether to run is “a difficult decision.

“He will make that for himself,” he said.

But asked whether it would be good for the Democratic Party if Biden runs, Sanders sounded far more ambivalent about the prospect.

“Yeah…I suppose you could argue that more voices, more ideas add to the debate,” he said.

DRONES: Sanders said his counter-terrorism policy would include drones, special forces “and more.” Though drone warfare remains controversial because, critics argue, they are often used to launch inaccurate attacks that accidentally target civilians, Sanders said he’d continue the practice as president.

“Look, drone is a weapon. When it works badly, it is terrible and it is counterproductive. When you blow up a facility or a building which kills women and children, you know what? It's terrible,” he acknowledged, but added he’d continue the policy in certain cases regardless.