Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is unleashing several top surrogates to attack Bernie Sanders over an issue her campaign believes is one of his weaknesses: gun control.
On Monday, the Clinton campaign rolled out Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, who represents the district where a mass shooting left nine dead last year, to hammer Sanders’ mixed support for gun-control measures.
During a call with reporters, Malloy brought up Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump to Bash Sanders.
“Sen. Sanders has been to gun safety the same way as Trump should hold himself responsible for diplomacy,” Malloy said, a possible reference to Trump’s mixed decade-old statements on the Iraq War.
Malloy and Healey hit Sanders for his past support for a bill that protected gun manufacturers and distributors from most legal liability if sued by victims of gun violence. Malloy, an outspoken gun-control advocate, was governor during the Sandy Hook shooting that left 26 people dead his state.
Sanders was wrong on this. He should admit it now. He likes everyone else to admit when they have made a mistake — has he ever admitted how bad this mistake was and the harm that its caused and the death and destruction that its caused? No, he’s never admitted that. And he should be held accountable.
I find it troubling that Sen. Sanders has talked about accountability, specifically he’s talked a lot about accountability for Wall Street. But he hasn’t shown any interest in holding gun dealers and manufacturers responsible.
Sanders’ campaign has repeatedly countered Clinton’s gun-policy criticism by pointing out that Clinton ran to the right of then-Sen. Barack Obama’s on gun rights in the 2008 Democratic primary. Sanders has also voiced support for legislation that would remove liability protections from gun manufacturers.
“People will remember that Secretary Clinton has been all over the map on guns,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNN last month. “So I think her argument would be much more compelling if she had a consistent record on this issue,” he added.
On Monday, Malloy pushed back by accusing Sanders of trying to distract voters from his own record on guns.
“I think this argument has blown up about where she was years go,” Malloy said. “The reality was she didn’t vote for the bill that Bernie Sanders voted for. He’s saying, ‘Don’t look at me, look in the other direction.'”
Monday’s press call appeared to be part of a strategy by Clinton to leverage her many surrogates against Sanders on certain wedge issues. Less than a week ago, the Clinton campaign held a similar call with a high-profile trio of Latino surrogates who pummelled Sanders over his record on immigration.
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