Bernie Backs Hillary Clinton's Leaked Comments on Millennial Anger

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U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders answers a question about college affordability during a campaign event at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, on September 28. Brian Snyder/Reuters

Senator Bernie Sanders agrees with Hillary Clinton's assessment of the anxieties that millennials face in the current economy and brushed off criticisms of his campaign approach that surfaced in hacked audiotape from a February fundraiser.

Sanders, who battled Clinton for the Democratic nomination, told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday that while he was bothered by Clinton's description of his pitch as "false promises," he agrees with her evaluation of the forces contributing to young voters' anger.

"A very important point that she made is that a lot of young people who went into debt, worked very hard to get a good education, get out of school and can't find jobs commensurate with the education that they received," Sanders said on "State of the Union."

Clinton has been under criticism all weekend for her comments, which have been misinterpreted, willfully or otherwise, as slamming Sanders' supporters when she was sympathizing with their position. The hashtag #BasementDwellers, a misquote of Clinton's comments, has since been used in thousands of social media attacks by those who claim she was mocking millennial Sanders backers.

"Some of the frustration that you are seeing in the political process this season is really rooted in the fact that people have not recovered their position from where they were before the Great Recession," Clinton says in the hacked audiotape. "There is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates. On the other side, there's a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare…that what we've done hasn't gone far enough...I don't want to over promise. I don't want to tell people things that I know we cannot do. I want to level with the American people.

"There is a sense of disappointment among young people about politics. They're children of the Great Recession, and they are living in their parents' basement. They feel that they got their education, and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envision for themselves, and they don't see much of a future…that is a mindset that is really affecting their politics. So if you're feeling that you are consigned to being a barista or some other job that doesn't pay a lot and doesn't have much of a ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing," she says, in reference to Sanders' appeal.

She further explained her pitch to young voters: "I don't think you tell idealistic people, particularly young people, that they bought into a false promise. You try to do the best you can to say, 'hey, that's his view, that's what he is offering you, but here's another way where actually we can achieve a lot of what we had said starting day one and make a real difference in peoples' lives.'"

Sanders admitted that Clinton's comments on "false promises" bothered him, but told Tapper, "If you go to some of the statements that I made about Hillary Clinton, you can see real differences. So we have differences. There's nothing to be surprised about."

The Vermont senator told Tapper, "I agree with her," when asked about Clinton's assessment of the "children of the Great Recession."

"What she's saying is what I suggested...There are young people who went deeply into debt, worked very hard to get a good education, and yet they are getting out of school and they can't find decent-paying jobs. And that's a major problem. They are living in their parents' basements. And that's the point there," Sanders said.

He said he would tell his supporters that Clinton is the best candidate to represent their shared values.

"Take a hard look, not at Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Take a hard look at the needs of the American people. And issue by issue, whether it is climate change, whether it is Citizens United, the need to overturn that, whether it is pay equity for women, whether it is raising the minimum wage to a living wage, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, a tax system that says to Trump and his friends they are going to start paying their fair share of taxes, look at Clinton's positions, look at Trump's positions, understand that one or the other of those two will be the next president of the United States. And after you take a hard look at those two candidates and their issues, I think the conclusion that the vast majority of people will reach is that Clinton is far and away the superior candidate," Sanders said.

Bernie Backs Hillary Clinton's Leaked Comments on Millennial Anger | U.S.