- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2015

Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernard Sanders cashed in when he came under attack from a super PAC backing rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, netting $1.2 million when he put out a call for donations to help him fight back against “ugly, negative campaigning.”

The Sanders campaign said it took just 48 hours for its army of small donors to send in the $1.2 million after Correct the Record, a super PAC backing Mrs. Clinton, attempted to link Mr. Sanders to the late Venezuelan communist leader Hugo Chavez and far-left U.K. politician Jeremy Corbyn.

“I hope that sends a very clear message that the American people are sick and tired of politics as usual and negative campaigning,” Mr. Sanders said Thursday in the email thanking his supporters.

Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent and avowed socialist who is beating Mrs. Clinton in the polls in early-voting states, has refused to accept support from super PACs or donations from corporate moneymen.

He used the attack by Correct the Record, which is run by longtime Clinton henchman David Brock, to draw a stark contrast between the political revolution he wants to lead and the establishment candidacy of Mrs. Clinton.

“Frankly what the Clinton Super PAC is doing is nothing new. It’s the same-old, same-old negative politics that has gone on for years: throw mud and hope some of it sticks,” Mr. Sanders told his supporters. “We are fighting for a different kind of politics. Instead of hurling dishonest or out-of-context charges, we are trying to run an issue-oriented campaign — focusing on the most important concerns of the American people.”

Earlier this week, Correct the Record circulated an email linking Mr. Sander’s praise of Mr. Chavez and likening the senator to Mr. Corbyn, who recently was elected leader of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party.

The attack marked a new phase in the contest between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders, who previously had carefully avoided launching personal attacks on each other.

The email, which was first reported by The Huffington Post, highlighted some of Mr Corbyn’s more outrageous comments, such as that the killing of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy” because he wasn’t afforded a trial and that he would invite his “friends” from Hezbollah to come to the U.K. to discuss Middle East peace.

It points to a newspaper op/ed penned by Mr. Corbyn that characterized the West as the villain in confrontations with Russia, saying that North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s “attempt to encircle Russia is one of the big threats of our time.”

The pro-Clinton group goes on to cite “similarities” between Mr. Corbyn and Mr. Sanders, including the senator’s proposal to end the United States nuclear weapons program and his opposition to NATO expansion into Soviet countries.

As for his connection to Mr. Chavez, Mr. Sanders in 2006 helped negotiate a deal with Venezuela’s national oil company to provide discounted heating oil to low-income families in Vermont.

Mr. Sanders does share some similarities with Mr. Corbyn. However, the two men share more in style than substance, with both achieving unexpected success as insurgents within their political parties.

“We understand this is the big leagues — this is hardball,” said Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs. “I wouldn’t say we expected it because we are disappointed. But it is what it is and we’ll go with it.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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