Sanders unhappy at Clinton’s ‘tone’ as attacks mount
CHARLES CITY, Iowa (CNN) — Bernie Sanders rallied supporters in Iowa with political red meat Saturday, highlighting his ideological purity on issues of concerns to liberals and saying he would not let Hillary Clinton “distort” his record.
“I am disturbed, I have to say at the tone of Secretary Clinton’s campaign is such, that they are just bringing forth a lot of inaccurate statements regarding what I believe,” Sanders told canvassers in Charles City.
The Vermont senator spent the day at backers’ houses and in college classrooms, offering a fiery message designed to fire up his campaign’s ground troops. His goal: to ensure precinct captains show up at Monday night’s Iowa caucuses and rally support.
Sanders aimed to counter recent Clinton attacks, including an ad slamming him for calling Planned Parenthood part of the “establishment” and repeated jabs over his gun control record.
“Don’t tell me I am protecting or defending the gun lobby, don’t tell me I am attacking Planned Parenthood,” Sanders said, visibly perturbed. “Let’s not go around distorting a record that I am very proud of.”
Sanders sought to present himself as a victim of negative campaigning by Clinton. He said his own campaign’s recent ad against the former secretary of state over speaking fees she received from Goldman Sachs was simply a matter of self-defense.
The canvassers listened to the senator in the garage of a supporter, with a makeshift speaking floor arranged to accommodate Sanders. A table of hand warmers, bumper stickers, and donuts fueled the 40 or so volunteers.
The final Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday night had Clinton winning 45% to 42%.
Central to any success for the Vermont senator will be whether first-time caucus-goers — a group far more likely to back Sanders than Clinton — will show up on Monday night.
Sanders’ refrain for the last couple days and the message he’s been leaving supporters and canvassers at every stop: we need turnout.
“We will win the caucus on Monday night if there is a large voter turnout. We will lose if there is a low voter turnout,” he reiterated all day Saturday. “In many way Iowa becomes a model for the rest of the country and the future of American democracy.”