Pro-Hillary super PAC goes negative on Sanders

It’s almost as if they’re worried.

Correct the Record, a super PAC whose mission is supposedly to respond to attacks against Hillary Clinton, instead turned its focus on Bernie Sanders yesterday. In an email sent to the Huffington Post, the super PAC tied Sanders the British Labour Party’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and Hugo Chavez, who provided discounted fuel to Vermont in a deal Sanders supported.

As they wrote:

The email, sent to a Huffington Post reporter in response to an article about Corbyn and Sanders without any agreement that it would be off the record, was meant to flag Corbyn’s “most extreme comments.” Among those was the suggestion that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy,” since there was no attempt to arrest the former al Qaeda leader and put him on trial. The email also cites Corbyn’s comment that he’d invite his “friends” from Hezbollah to come to the U.K. to discuss peace in the Middle East and an editorial in which he said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s “attempt to encircle Russia is one of the big threats of our time.”

Bernie Sanders, via AFGE / Flickr

Bernie Sanders, via AFGE / Flickr

The more serious stretch comes as the email highlights how Sanders helped negotiate a program with Venezuela’s national oil company in 2006 that provided discounted heating oil assistance to low-income Vermonters. The senator said it was “not a partisan issue,” in the state, which was the sixth to make the deal. 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.”

For their part, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has itself said it would not be attacking Sanders, who has made a point to avoid attacking her when prompted to do so.

But Correct the Record is undoubtedly part of Clinton’s network of campaign organizations, even if they aren’t part of her official campaign. And the fact that they felt the need to get a dig in on Sanders shows that her network is starting to worry about Sanders’s marked rise in the polls of late:

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In response, the Sanders campaign pointed out to the Post that, for all of their talk about correcting the record, the super PAC’s charge is a stretch at best, writing in an email that, “To equate bringing home heating oil to low-income Vermonters with support for the Chavez government is dishonest.”

It’s also dishonest to directly tie Sanders to Corbyn. While they are both running against the establishment from the left in their respective countries’ liberal parties, and Sanders did say that he was “delighted” that Corbyn’s bid for Labour’s leadership was successful, that’s where their similarities end. All those things Corbyn said about bin Laden, Hezbollah and Russia? There is precisely zero reason to believe Sanders agrees. It would make about as much sense to imply that Hillary Clinton is for overturning Roe v Wade because she and Rick Santorum are both members of The Family — a charge that Correct the Record would be positively apoplectic over.

It’s also notable that Correct the Record’s note wasn’t circulated to the public directly, but was instead sent to reporters. And given the substance of the attack — referencing old issues and foreign leaders — it’s unlikely that it was intended for direct public consumption (How many Democratic primary voters have strong thoughts and feelings about Jeremy Corbyn?). Correct the Record didn’t want the public to know that this information from Sanders was coming from them, they wanted it to seep into the next articles that major media outlets write about him.

If Bernie Sanders is starting to take hits from the Clinton camp, that can only be taken as a good sign for him. It means that Clinton’s allies are starting to take him seriously as a threat. For now, the attacks are only coming through surrogates and in emails to reporters, but it’s likely a sign of more direct, and public, shots to come.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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16 Responses to “Pro-Hillary super PAC goes negative on Sanders”

  1. Indigo says:

    That works for me but isn’t he Mayor-for-life of some Midwestern town?

  2. Skye Winspur says:

    I know I am a rare case in the Democratic electorate, but I know a few things about Jeremy Corbyn and I very much like him – he’s really not the far-left bogeyman the Murdoch-owned media would have us believe. So it does not please me to see Hillary supporters lump him in with Hugo Chavez. What next, Sanders has fraternized with THE SWEDISH SOCIAL DEMOCRATS?

  3. 2karmanot says:

    Especially if it’s Rahm Emmanuel

  4. 2karmanot says:

    Dear Hills, in the back of my mind there was the possibility that I would vote for you if Sanders couldn’t make the nomination, lesser evil and all that. But now sweet-pea, hell will freeze over before you get the time of day from me…..dissing Bernie is a major fail….just say’un.

  5. Quilla says:

    No, no. Not Webb. He’s still wearing his Reagan underwear.

  6. Quilla says:

    Not a good move. An expected one, sure, just not a wise one. Shame Hillary. Try to stay classy.

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  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    The system is indeed rigged and a vote for any Democrat or any Republican is automatically a vote for war, racism and austerity. Voting surrenders the fight by endorsing war, racism and austerity.

    The Republicans were a third party when they won in 1860. We’r now entering a period when both major parties are experiencing sever centrifugal forces and could easily see the same fate as the whigs.

  9. Indigo says:

    I like the food taster scenario.

  10. nicho says:

    Yeah, if it were Sanders-Hillary, you know that Bernie would need a food taster. If it were Hillary-Sanders, Bernie would be locked in a closet for four years. No one would ever see him.

  11. Indigo says:

    I can understand that, but not Warren. She’s needed in Congress to twist arms and confront generic stupidity. Hillary, on the other hand, is the arm-twister extraodinaire and we’re going to need that. A lot.

  12. sparksfly says:

    America’s system is rigged and no one running 3rd-Party is going to win. “None of the above” surrenders the fight entirely.

  13. sparksfly says:

    I’d like to see Sanders-Warren or Sanders-Webb a lot more than Hillary anything.

  14. nicho says:

    Well you knew that Hill&Bill Inc. was going to bring out the thugs sooner or later. She’s not going to go down quietly. There’s still more money to be sucked out of our pockets.

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    The difference between the Clintons and BS is that BS wants a slightly better welfare state than the union busting Clintons.

    There are several problems with BS’s strategy and first and foremost is the fact that he’s running as a Democrat. Democrats are one of the two parties of big business and while they’ll tolerate minor reforms what’s needed are major, substantive and radical reforms.

    In essence, we need a workers state, not a welfare state run by social democrats, who are not socialists and haven’t been for well over a century. Social democrats in Greece abandoned their own program and accepted a deal with Merkel’s Deutsche Bundesbank. In France the social democrats led by Hollande are trying to impose austerity and have a distinctly racist attitude towards muslim nations and mulsim citizens.

    Everywhere the social democrats are moving right and abandoning the struggles of working people. BS is no exception. He has no viable solutions.

  16. Indigo says:

    That is a good sign. It’s also a little weird to be slipping these #sandersisasocialist messages on the back burner, so to speak. I’m good with Hillary-Sanders or Sanders-Hillary. Either way is good.

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