- REUTERS/Jay Paul
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) presidential campaign sent its supporters an urgent fundraising message on Tuesday after he was reportedly criticized by a super PAC supporting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“Yesterday, one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent Super PACs attacked our campaign pretty viciously,” Sanders wrote in the fundraising email. “They suggested I’d be friendly with Middle East terrorist organizations, and even tried to link me to a dead communist dictator.”
Sanders added that it “was the kind of onslaught I expected to see” from conservative mega-donors and not supporters of Clinton, the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic front-runner.
Sanders’ solicitation is an apparent reference to a Monday report in The Huffington Post.
Reporters Samantha Lachman and Ryan Grim wrote that Correct the Record, the pro-Clinton super PAC, reached out to their outlet to compare Sanders unfavorably to Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the British Labour Party. Corbyn, like Sanders, tapped into populist feelings among the left in his country.
According to The Huffington Post, Correct the Record highlighted Corbyn’s “most extreme comments,” such as when the British politician called the assassination of Osama bin Laden a “tragedy” because he would not be prosecuted.
Those comments were then linked to Sanders through the “similarities” between Corbyn and himself – including an apparent connection to the former strongman president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013.
“Sanders helped negotiate a program with Venezuela’s national oil company in 2006 that provided discounted heating oil assistance to low-income Vermonters,” Lachman and Grim wrote. “His support for the program was apparently enough to merit a mention, since Corbyn has written that the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s ‘electoral democratic credentials are beyond reproach.'”
Clinton and Sanders rarely criticize each other directly.
Clinton usually tries to avoid even saying her primary opponents’ names, preferring to keep her focus on the general election. Sanders has taken light shots at Clinton’s vague positions toward the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
But after Sanders’ fundraising message Tuesday, it appears both two sides are viewing each other with increased hostility, especially as Sanders surges in early-state primary polls.
“If we stand together to fight back against these ugly attacks, we can ensure this election is about who has the best ideas, and not who has the biggest donors,” Sanders wrote. “They should not underestimate us.”
Correct the Record did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on Sanders’ pushback.
View Sanders’ full fundraising missive below:
I don’t have a Super PAC, Friend. I am not going to travel around the country begging millionaires and billionaires for money. That’s just not going to happen.
But the success of our campaign certainly has the billionaires’ attention.
Yesterday, one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent Super PACs attacked our campaign pretty viciously. They suggested I’d be friendly with Middle East terrorist organizations, and even tried to link me to a dead communist dictator.
It was the kind of onslaught I expected to see from the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson, and it’s the second time a billionaire Super PAC has tried to stop the momentum of the political revolution we’re building together.
They’ll keep trying … unless we make them pay a price for their attacks.
Make the Super PACs pay for attacking us by making a $3 contribution to our campaign today. Let’s send a powerful message that we have had ENOUGH of the billionaire class buying elections.
If we stand together to fight back against these ugly attacks, we can ensure this election is about who has the best ideas, and not who has the biggest donors.
They should not underestimate us.