“I am not a candidate who goes to the unions, goes to workers, then leaves and goes to a fundraiser on Wall Street,” he said, taking a jab at Clinton, whose ties to the financial sector Sanders has repeatedly criticized. “You are family, and I have worked with unions my entire life.”
Sanders and Clinton -- who has received more endorsements from labor unions than her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination -- are set to face off in Wisconsin on Tuesday in a primary that's key to Sanders’s bid to mount a comeback in the race.
Speaking at a union hall here, Sanders recounted his opposition to trade deals dating back to the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s,, when Clinton’s husband was president. The former senator and secretary of state has supported “virtually all” of the trade deals since then, Sanders told his audience.
“I’m glad that she’s going around the country talking about the need for more manufacturing,” Sanders said. “Well that’s a great idea, but maybe she should have been there 20 or 30 years ago when we started hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs in this country largely because of the disastrous trade policy.”
Sanders had rallies scheduled later Monday in Green Bay and Milwaukee.
Clinton has also been critical of Sanders's posture on trade while campaigning in Wisconsin.
At a Democratic dinner in Milwaukee on Saturday, she chided the senator from Vermont for being "opposed all trade deals, all the time."
"But I don’t think that’s right," because when "done right" trade arrangements can benefit American workers, Clinton said.
Recent polls have showed Sanders with a modest lead over Clinton in Wisconsin, and he told supporters Monday that he thinks he will win the state if there is a large voter turnout. Such a victory could be key to his performance two weeks later in the New York primary, he said.
“If we win here, we’re going to have a bounce going into New York state, where I think we can win,” Sanders said. “If we win in New York state -- between you and me, I don’t want to get Hillary Clinton more nervous than she already is, so don’t tell her this -- but I think if we win here, we win in New York state, we’re on our way to the White House.”