CHARLES CITY, Iowa -- Two days ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders lashed out at the campaign of Hillary Clinton for what he said were misrepresentations of his record in a television ad that his chief rival is airing.
The Vermont senator said Saturday that he was disappointed in “a lot of inaccurate statements regarding what I believe” and pointed to two issues in particular: his record supporting Planned Parenthood and standing up to the gun lobby.
Both topics are cited in a 60-second ad that Clinton debuted in Iowa this week -- but that makes no mention of Sanders by name.
The ad says “the time has come to make a choice about which candidate can actually make a difference for you.”Among Clinton’s positives that the narrator cites in the ad: she’ll “defend Planned Parenthood, not attack it,” and she’ll “stand up to the gun lobby, not protect it.”
“Don’t tell me that I’m defending or protecting the gun lobby. Don’t tell me I’m attacking Planned Parenthood,” Sanders told his crowd here. “Those are inaccuracies, and we can do better than that. Secretary Clinton and I have differences of opinion. Let’s debate those differences of opinion, but let’s not go around distorting a record that I am very proud of.”
In recent weeks, Clinton and her allies have more directly challenged Sanders’s record on both issues.
They pounced when Sanders referred to Planned Parenthood as part of the political “establishment” when asked in a television interview about the group’s endorsement of Clinton. He later clarified that he was speaking only of the leadership of the organization responsible for the endorsement. On the campaign trail, Sanders regularly calls for increasing funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides women’s reproductive health services.
Clinton has also repeatedly said Sanders’s record is not strong enough on gun control, citing some past votes including one to grant legal immunity to gun dealers and manufacturers -- a position Sanders has since reversed. He routinely touts his stands on other measures on which he is at odds with the National Rifle Association, including his support for banning military-style assault weapons.
“Let me tell you something: I’ve got a D-minus voting record from the NRA,” Sanders said.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.
During the same event, which served as a pep talk for about three dozen volunteers in a supporter’s garage, Sanders also ticked off several issues on which he has “strong disagreements” with Clinton. He said those included the Iraq war, expanding Social Security benefits and guaranteeing workers paid family and medical leave.
Sanders has also sought to make the case that he is a stronger candidate when it comes to Wall Street reform, in part because Clinton, a former senator representing New York, has accepted campaign donations and speaking fees from firms including Goldman Sachs.
Sanders has aired two ads focusing on what he sees as his differences with Clinton on Wall Street reform -- neither of which mention her by name. After the first one aired, Clinton aides accused Sanders of going negative against Clinton -- a notion he disputed.