Clinton Shows Desperation With Dishonest Attacks Against Sanders On Health Care & Guns

Clinton Attacks Sanders

A common characteristic of a Hillary Clinton campaign is to distort the views of her opponent and lie about the facts as opposed to engaging in an honest exchange of ideas. We saw this when she ran against Barack Obama eight years ago, and have repeatedly seen this in the past several months. She appears to have stepped up her smear campaign now that she is losing her lead in the polls.

Democracy For America has also issued a response to what they refer to as Clinton’s “bald-faced lies” on Sanders’s gun record and “right-wing attacks” on healthcare. Their response can be found here.

The Clinton campaign has been attacking Sanders with distortions of his views on health care and gun control this week, having Chelsea deliver some of the attacks on health care:

“Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance,” she said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “I worry if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we’ll go back to an era – before we had the Affordable Care Act – that would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance.”

This attack, similar to the attacks from Hillary Clinton during the last Democratic Debate, greatly distorts Sanders’ proposal for Medicare For All. Rather than dismantle Medicare, Sanders proposes providing Medicare for everyone as it provides better coverage at a lower cost than any other system we currently have. It would further expand the number of people covered, and not take away health coverage from millions.

The Week also responded to what they call Hillary Clinton’s dirty attack on Bernie Sanders:

Hillary Clinton took aim at Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care plan on Monday, characterizing it as “turning over your and my health insurance to governors,” specifically naming Republican Terry Branstad. It’s a pretty clear reference to the many conservative states that have refused ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion — implying that Sanders would allow conservative states to opt out of his plan, and hence partially destroy all federal health insurance programs.

This is absolutely false.

After showing how Clinton is lying about Sanders’ plan, the article concluded with what is obviously happening: “In any case, it’s obvious what’s happening here. Clinton has been flagging in the polls of late, and as usual she’s turned to fighting dirty.”

Clinton’s use of such dirty attacks on Sanders’ support for a true universal health care plan is quite a flip-flop considering that in 2008, while also launching dishonest attacks on Obama’s health care plan, Clinton equated any disagreement with her plan with the tactics of Karl Rove. The Sanders campaign issued this response (with the video above):

Hillary Clinton once said it “undermined core Democratic values” and gives “aid and comfort” to the special interests and “their allies in the Republican Party” for Democrats to attack each other’s health care plans. Today, in another flip-flop, she’s doing exactly what she once decried.

In the wake of new polls showing that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is gaining ground or leading in the Iowa caucuses, Clinton’s campaign has stepped up attacks on Sanders and his health care proposal. The most recent volley is an attack on Sanders’ plan to create a Medicare-for-all health care system for all Americans.

Clinton’s attacks on a Democratic Party rival over universal health care marks a very public flip flop by her and her campaign. She is now using the same Karl Rove tactics she once decried in this video.

Clinton is also repeating her dishonest attacks on Bernie Sander’s record on guns. She is basing this on votes from several years ago, ignoring the fact that bills have a lot of components and Sanders’ votes based upon some aspects of a bill does not indicate an opposition to gun control.

In reality, Sanders has received a lifetime grade of D- from the NRA (along with at least one F) due to gun control measures which he has supported, including bans on assault weapons, restrictions on concealed weapons, ending the “gun-show loophole,” and expanded background checks, plus opposing shortening waiting periods. Democracy for America has dismissed Clinton’s attacks on Sanders’ gun record by saying “talk like that is so absurdly false it’s almost funny.”

Clinton has also been far to the right of her current position on gun control in the past, such as when she debated Barack Obama in 2008. Clinton has taken multiple positions on gun control over the years, campaigning even further to the right at times in 2008 when she described herself as a “pro-gun churchgoer.” Despite her major flip-flops on guns, Clinton also sent out a dishonest flier attacking Obama on guns, just one way she is repeating the same dishonest tactics employed in her unsuccessful 2008 campaign.

Clinton’s dishonest attacks on Sanders so far appear to be backfiring, as donations to Sanders have increased in response to these attacks, which is not the first time Sanders has raised money off dishonest attacks from the Clinton campaign. Plus opposition to the nomination of Hillary Clinton appears to be getting stronger among liberals. Charles Chamberlain, the Executive Director of Democracy for America, concluded his response to Clinton’s lies on Sanders record with this:

“…regardless of who wins our nomination, the goal of Democrats holding on to the White House in 2016 is being made more difficult every second the Clinton campaign continues to distort the facts on Bernie Sanders’s strong record against gun violence and attack a core progressive idea like universal healthcare.

“Bernie Sanders and any Democrat can beat right-wing attacks when they’re leveled by Republicans, but Democrats taking those same swings only hurts our ability to unite the Democratic coalition we need to win in November.

Update: Clinton’s lead down to two points in Des Moines Register poll (withing margin of error).

More Good News For Sanders As Clinton Gets Desperate (& Dirty)

Clinton Support Iowa

This week Bernie Sanders has continued to improve in the polls, received the endorsement from MoveOn, and favorable comments from Joe Biden, while Hillary Clinton’s campaign has become increasingly dirty. Or perhaps the fact that Sanders is talking about the issues while Clinton is slinging mud is why Sanders is surging in the polls.

The week started with Sanders showing a jump in the polls, including taking a three point lead in Iowa, which I discussed here. Subsequently Public Policy Polling showed Clinton losing six percent of her support and Sanders gaining six percent, but still remaining behind Clinton. Better yet, Quinnipiac showed Sanders leading by five points in Iowa, compared to a Clinton lead of eleven points last month. As Philip Bump wrote, Hillary Clinton’s trend line in Iowa polling should scare her campaign

Sanders is also maintaining his lead in New Hampshire, with the strongest lead coming in a Monmouth University poll showing Sanders ahead by fourteen points, while other polls showed a closer race. Clinton’s support is also dropping in the national polls. As I mentioned in the earlier post, the IBD/TIPP Poll has Clinton’s lead over Sanders nationally at 4 points, down from an eighteen point lead. The New York Times/CBS News Poll shows Clinton’s lead having decreased from twenty points in early December to seven points now. If Sanders should win in Iowa and New Hampshire, most likely he will receive a large bounce in the national polls.

Sanders also picked up the endorsement of, with the number one reason being, “Bernie’s lifelong commitment to standing up to corporate and 1% interests to fight for an economy where everyone has a fair shot.” Foreign policy was also a strong factor, or as MoveOn put it, “He’ll say no to permanent war.” Clinton’s claims of greater electability also did not fool the members of MoveOn, who backed Sanders with 78.6 percent of the vote. Another reason for the endorsement was, “Electability: This election will hinge on turnout, and Bernie is inspiring and mobilizing the communities it’ll take to win.”

Sanders previously received the endorsement of Democracy for America. The endorsements from these two groups show the strength of Sanders’ support among liberals and in the netroots. Opposition to the policies of George W. Bush previously energized such groups, and therefore it is hardly surprising that such groups would oppose Hillary Clinton, who share’s many of Bush’s views on foreign policy, restrictions on civil liberties, and excessive executive power. This might also be related to the generational divide in the party. While I do not have the age breakdown of these organizations, I suspect that their endorsement is also consistent with the New York Times/CBS News poll showing “primary voters under 45 favoring Mr. Sanders by a roughly 2-to-1 ratio.”

While it would be a surprise if Joe Biden made an endorsement, he has made his disdain for Hillary Clinton clear on several occasions, including when he announced his decision not to run. Biden took another opportunity to praise Sanders and question Clinton’s record earlier this week. From CNN:

Vice President Joe Biden offered effusive praise for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders Monday, lauding Hillary Clinton’s chief rival for doing a “heck of a job” on the campaign trail and praising Sanders for offering an authentic voice on income inequality.

And while Biden said Democrats had a slate of “great candidates” running for president, he suggested Clinton was a newcomer to issues like the growing gap between rich and poor.

Sanders might have also benefited from being in the Senate for Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address. While flipping through the channels after the debate I saw extended interviews with him on  MSNBC and CNN, and it is possible he also received coverage elsewhere. Besides discussing his economic message, this gave him an opportunity to respond to a dishonest ad on gun control which Clinton released tonight.

As I cautioned in the previous post, the polls can still move quite a bit in each direction over the next few weeks. This does seriously hurt Clinton’s strategy of campaigning based upon inevitability. Instead her campaign has become increasingly desperate, including further distortions of Sanders’ views on guns and further attacks on Sanders’ health care plans from the right, also in a quite dishonest manner. I will discuss this in further detail in a follow-up post.