BOSTON—Just two days after losing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Nevada caucuses, Senator Bernie Sanders launched a broadside against his rival, aggressively emphasizing differences between himself and Clinton on issues of campaign finance and trade policy.
“What I intend to do over the next number of weeks is kind of contrast my record to Secretary Clinton’s” Sanders began as he addressed the press at Boston’s International Association of Ironworkers, Local 7.
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Keeping true to his word, the Vermont senator -- who boasts of having never run a negative campaign -- dove into a litany of contrast points he sees between himself and Clinton, launching some of the most direct swipes Sanders has taken at his competitor during this campaign season.
“I am delighted that Secretary Clinton month after month seems to be adopting more and more of the positions that we have advocated, that’s good,” he said.
“And in fact, she is beginning to use a lot of the language and phraseology that we have used,” Sanders added, joking that he saw a TV ad and thought it was him speaking despite Clinton's photo being pictured in the spot.
Sanders hit Clinton hardest on her use of a Super PAC— the pro-Clinton Priorities USA - and used the group to tie her to Wall Street and big donor influences.
“If these contributions from Wall Street and other powerful special interests have no influence over the candidate, why are these special interests making huge campaign contributions?” he asked. “Now maybe they’re dummies and maybe they just think they can throw millions of dollars at a candidate and expect to get nothing from them. Maybe. I doubt that very much.”
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Sanders emphasized his now-standard stump line that his average donation is $27 coming from middle and working class people and added that one’s method of raising campaign contributions “says a lot” about how one would govern.
In the final stretch of the Iowa caucuses, Sanders first began the delicate balancing act of drawing sharp contrasts with Hillary Clinton, notably saying at one rally in Burlington, Iowa that Clinton only came out against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal “kicking and screaming.”
But the senator backed off after a narrow loss in Iowa and a resounding win in the New Hampshire primaries, instead sticking to his stump speech while focusing on courting more minority voters.
Monday, in front of a receptive audience of union worker, he revived that criticism.
Sanders said that the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, "has said that he believes that Hillary Clinton would ultimately support the TPP if she becomes the Democratic nominee for president and is elected."
The campaign’s press release for the news conference said Sanders would speak on five subjects, yet the candidate only specifically hit three (Super Pacs, Trade, and Standing up to Wall Street), surprisingly leaving out one of his most commonly referenced differences: Hillary Clinton’s vote for the War in Iraq, and his vote against it.
Asked after the event if he has a path to victory after the Nevada result, Sanders answered by spelling out "Y-E-S."
"What this is about is a slog if I may use that word, state by state by state,” he said. "We are in this campaign to the end."
"And with organizations like the ones behind me” he added, referring to the mix of supportive union workers and progressive activists flanking him with campaign signs, “we are gonna do just great in this campaign."