- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Democratic presidential contender Bernard Sanders questioned Hillary Clinton’s progressive roots Wednesday, citing her vote for the Iraq War, collecting money from Wall Street, and her flip-flop on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as blunders on her record.

“Most progressives that I know don’t raise millions of dollars from Wall Street,” the Vermont senator said in a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon. “Most progressives I know are firm from day 1 in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They don’t have to think about it a whole lot.”

“Most progressives I know were opposed to the Keystone pipeline from day one,” Mr. Sanders tweeted. “Honestly, it wasn’t that complicated.”

He ended his Twitter rant: “Most progressives I know were against the war in Iraq. One of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States.”

Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton will appear Wednesday at a CNN Town hall forum before facing off Thursday night in a debate hosted by MSBNC. Both will be held in New Hampshire, where Mr. Sanders holds a 33-point lead over Mrs. Clinton and both are campaigning before Tuesday’s primary.

Mr. Sanders has struck a chord with the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party while Mrs. Clinton has tried her best to outflank him, coming out against the TPP trade agreement she supported as secretary of state and opposing the Keystone pipeline after months of deliberation. Mr. Sanders‘ populist message attracted 84 percent of young liberals in Iowa, trouncing Mrs. Clinton in the demographic.

Sensing Mrs. Clinton has an authenticity problem, Mr. Sanders pounced Wednesday.

“You can be a moderate. You can be a progressive. But you cannot be a moderate and a progressive,” Mr. Sanders tweeted.

Mrs. Clinton shot back.

“This shouldn’t be a debate about who gets to define ‘progressive’ — it should be about who will get real results for American families,” she tweeted, pointing out how she’s fought back against the gun lobby and how Mr. Sanders voted against background checks five times.

“An important part of being a progressive is making progress. From health care to fighting inequality, Hillary’s record speaks for itself,” her campaign tweeted. “Hillary’s not running to make a point — she’s running to make a difference. She’ll keep doing that. Please feel free to keep tweeting.”

California Sen. Barbara Boxer came to Mrs. Clinton’s defense, tweeting: “Hillary is a progressive EVERY day. Bernie is a Democrat ‘some days.’”

And Mo Elleithee, a former communications director for the Democratic National Committee, questioned Mr. Sanders‘ line of attack.

“Data shows that Dems like both candidates, see both as progressive change agents,” said Mr. Elleithee, who is currently the executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and PUblic Service. “This attack is off-key for him.”

Mr. Elleithee added Mr. Sanders‘ strategy should be to convince Democrats that he’s the better guy to “unrig” the system and not to question her ideology. 

Mrs. Clinton has been positioning herself as a fighter in New Hampshire, not necessarily a front-runner. She holds the lead in states such as Nevada and South Carolina, after finishing in a virtual tie with Mr. Sanders in the Iowa caucuses.

“I’m here, and I will be here all week, in small groups and large, making my case, answering questions,” Mrs. Clinton told supporters Tuesday night in Hampton. She left the rally to the pop tune “Fight Song.”

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