bernie sanders
Bernie Sanders in his ad. YouTube/Sanders campaign/screenshot


Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign pounced on Thursday after her chief primary rival, US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), swiped at her in a television ad.

The Sanders ad never mentioned Clinton by name, but it did take an implicit shot at the Democratic front-runner for her support on Wall Street.

“There are two Democratic visions for regulating Wall Street. One says it’s OK to take millions [in campaign contributions] from big banks, and then tell them what to do,” Sanders narrated in his spot.

He added: “My plan: Break up the big banks, close the tax loopholes, and make them pay their fair share.”

Although Sanders’ commercial is tame compared to the brutal attack ads seen elsewhere in politics, the Clinton campaign organized a phone call with reporters on Thursday to accuse Sanders of breaking his pledge to not run negative ads.

“We were very surprised today to see that Bernie Sanders had launched a negative television advertisement against Hillary,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on the call.

“We were particularly surprised because he had personally pledged — and his campaign had pledged — never to run a negative advertisement,” he added.

Mook suggested that the ad was a sign that Sanders isn’t the “different kind of politician” his campaign had promised Democrats. The Clinton camp also said that it was very clear to both reporters and voters that the Sanders ad was attacking the former secretary of state — even if it didn’t mention her by name.

In a statement to Business Insider responding to the Clinton call, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs suggested that his team rejected the idea that Sanders was now slinging mud on the airwaves.

“This is not an ad directed at Secretary Clinton exclusively. It’s about people in the Democratic establishment who believe you can take Wall Street’s money and then somehow turn around and rein in the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior,” Briggs said.

Briggs went on to sharply contrast Clinton’s and Sanders’ approaches to regulating Wall Street.

“Obviously she is part of the establishment that Wall Street has showered with financial support. Bernie is not,” he continued. “She wants Wall Street and corporate special interests to like her. Bernie does not. Bernie is showing that you can take on the corrupt campaign-finance system.”

Thursday’s dispute represented only the latest firefight between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, which comes as Sanders has surged in polls of Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to weigh in on the Democratic primary. Clinton previously tended to ignore Sanders on the campaign trail, but she has shifted tactics to confronting him as the race careens toward February 1, the day of the Iowa caucus.

Earlier this week, Clinton’s campaign also released a television ad that implicitly went after Sanders. That ad similarly featured the candidate narrating the spot, in which Clinton said she stood with US President Barack Obama on holding firearms manufacturers accountable for gun violence.

View the Sanders ad to which the Clinton camp objected below:

As reported by Business Insider