Biden campaign advisor Symone Sanders talks to CNN's Jim Sciutto
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN: I'm pleased to be joined by Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.
SYMONE SANDERS, BIDEN CAMPAIGN: Hi, Jim. Thanks for having me on today.
SCIUTTO: I want to play what the co-chair of the Biden campaign, Congressman Cedric Richmond said on CNN just a couple of days ago regarding Biden's position on this and get your reaction. Have a listen.
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND: I think the vice president has been very consistent over his career in the Senate since '76 when the Hyde amendment became law. He's a deeply religious man. I think everyone knows that, and he's guided by his faith. And his position on the Hyde amendment has been consistent.
SCIUTTO: A deeply religious man, guided by his faith. But now making this reversal. How do you reconcile that statement with this change?
SYMONE SANDERS: Well, Jim, there's nothing to reconcile. First, Congressman Richmond was absolutely correct. What you heard the vice president say last night, though, is that as we're working through our health care plan, the details of our health care plan, he cannot justify locking out millions of women from coverage based upon their ZIP code.
SCIUTTO: But for years, he's held a position that blocks out those women based on their ZIP code, justifying it by saying this is part of his religious beliefs, which is a fair argument to make. It's just that it's odd to say this is so deeply held, religious, emotional, philosophical, and say well, actually, no longer.
SANDERS: Well, I don't think he said no longer. Look, I was with the vice president all day yesterday. We were in Atlanta. We did a range of events and had a number of meetings. We melt with local community leaders. As he was working through his remarks for yesterday evening, he was very, very clear this is a deeply personal thing for him, but he's also very clear he believes in making sure folks across the country have access. We talk a lot about the middle class on our campaign.
When we talk about the middle class, we're talking about a middle class that includes everyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, whether you're gender nonconforming, whether you're gay, straight, LGBTQ, whether you pray to Jesus or Buddha. And so I think understanding that that is our position, that is who Joe Biden is, that's the kind of campaign he's running, when we're talking about access to health care, when we're working through our health care plan, he made a very logical decision. Now, Jim, I also want to address something else I have --
SCIUTTO: Before we get to it, and I want to give you an opportunity. I'm saying politicians change positions during campaigns. Sometimes after being president. Or sitting in other seats of government here. But it's when -- on policy issues. When you change something you held for decades and you justify in deeply personal terms, I wonder if this raises questions about the vice president's other positions through the years and will he make changes as well? And what do you say to voters who might say, wait a second, I'm not sure where he stands if he's willing to change a position like that.
SANDERS: Jim, that's what I was about to address. That's what I have been hearing. There are folks who want to talk about the vice president's authenticity. Let me tell you something. I liken what the vice president said last night about, again, re-enforcing his support for a women's right to choose, re-enforcing his support of Roe, and understanding the existential crisis we're in across the country as Republican governors have failed to extend Medicaid for millions of people and as Republican legislatures are cracking down on the rights of women and literally assaulting women in places when it comes to laws from places to Georgia all the Louisiana, Ohio, there's something in the legislature right now in North Carolina, in Missouri.