News & Politics

Clinton Camp Goes Negative on Bernie Sanders for First Time

A mailer compares Sanders to Britain's Jeremy Corbyn and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Despite Bernie Sanders' pledge not to run a negative campaign (one he's kept so far to the frustration of many supporters) one of Hillary Clinton's major super PAC's Correct the Record has drawn first blood, sending out mailers connecting Sanders to more left-wing politicians like Jeremy Corbyn, the United Kingdom's new Labour Party leader and the late Hugo Chavez, the socialist leader of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013. The Huffington Post reports:

Clinton's camp has long said it has no plans to attack Sanders. But the super PAC, called Correct the Record, departed from its defense of Clinton's record as a former secretary of state in an email Monday that compares Sanders with Corbyn. Correct the Record, led by Clinton ally David Brock, also has sent trackers after Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The email, which was sent to a Huffington Post reporter in response to a question about Sanders' recent supportfor Corbyn's victory in the UK Labour leadership race, is the first time a super PAC coordinating with Clinton has gone negative. This comes after recent polls show Sanders surging past Clinton by 10 points in Iowa and 20 points in New Hampshire. 

The email, according to the Huffington Post, says the "similarities" between Corbyn and Sanders include Sanders' support for reducing nuclear weapons, comments that suggest NATO's expansion into former Eastern Europe are dangerous because it will upset Russia, and his opposition to shipping arms to countries like Iran and North Korea. 

"It is disappointing that Secretary Clinton's super PAC is spreading disinformation about Bernie," Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs told the Huffington Post via email. "This is exactly the kind of politics that Bernie is trying to change. To equate bringing home heating oil to low-income Vermonters with support for the Chavez government is dishonest." 

Correct the Record is run by David Brock, the chairman of Media Matters for America, a nominally liberal media watchdog 501(c)3. Correct the Record shares office space with Media Matters which has, of late, done virtually no defending of Bernie Sanders while it runs daily counter-spin for Clinton. The last story Media Matters tweeted about the Vermont senator was July 26

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Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC.