Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has proudly stated that he has never before run a negative television advertisement — and that he hoped he never would.
These days, Sanders is getting pretty close to the line.
On Thursday, four days before the Iowa caucuses, the senator released a new ad ostensibly criticizing the investment bank Goldman Sachs for its role in the 2008 financial crisis. But the real target of the ad is clear: Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who has accepted $2.2 million in speaking fees from Goldman over the past decade.
"How does Wall Street get away with it? Millions in campaign contributions and speaking fees," a narrator intones. "Our economy works for Wall Street because it’s rigged by Wall Street. And that’s the problem. As long as Washington is bought and paid for, we can’t build an economy that works for people."
Sanders mentions Goldman in nearly every speech he delivers, and he has previously criticized Clinton for accepting speaking fees from the investment bank. In an ad he debuted earlier this month, Sanders said, "There are two Democratic visions for regulating Wall Street. One says it’s OK to take millions from big banks and then tell them what to do."
The Vermonter revisited the point Thursday morning during a breakfast in Des Moines, referring to a fundraiser Clinton held Wednesday night in Philadelphia, hosted by Franklin Square Capital Partners and featuring Jon Bon Jovi.
“She was in Philadelphia last night to raise substantial sums of money from an investment bank. I don’t know how much money, but that’s what she was doing," Sanders said, according to Politico. "That was how she’s raised money throughout her career."
Clinton's campaign hit back Thursday, referring to Sanders' new ad as a "cheap political attack."
"This last-minute sneak attack from the Sanders campaign is clearly meant to plaster the Iowa airwaves in the days before the caucus with negative ads slamming Hillary Clinton, without giving our campaign time to respond," Clinton's Iowa state director, Matt Paul, said in a written statement. "It’s a cynical political ploy in a primary that had until recently been characterized by a respectful back-and-forth about the issues, and it’s not one that’s going to go over well with Iowans."