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Sanders Compares His 1972 Gender-Roles Essay to '50 Shades of Grey'

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont explains the thinking behind his 1972 essay on gender roles.

Part of running for president is answering questions about past speeches, tweets, essays and articles.

That's something that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., became acutely aware of this week as his planned presidential campaign roll-out was slightly side-tracked by a Mother Jones article that featured some of the candidate’s writing from the 1970’s.

In a piece he penned at the age of 30 for an alternative publication, he tackled gender roles in a way that caused some raised eyebrows. The piece, which his campaign called, “a dumb attempt at dark satire” talks about rape and bondage fantasies.

On "Meet the Press," Sunday, Sanders explained that it was a piece of fiction that he wrote 43 years ago and that it was "very poorly written."

"If you read it, what it was dealing with gender stereotypes, why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive. You know, something like '50 Shades of Gray,'" Sanders said.

He had told reporters on Friday that he certainly would not have written the piece now and that its resurfacing showed how campaigns have become “soap operas."