- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Moments after President Obama finished his seventh and final State of the Union address Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton used the speech to mount yet another attack on her chief presidential primary rival, Sen. Bernard Sanders, on the issue of gun control.

The former secretary of state, who has fallen behind Mr. Sanders in the key early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, according to some polls, planted herself firmly on the president’s side with a campaign commercial released immediately after the speech calling for new firearms restrictions.

In the ad, titled “I’m With Him,” she took thinly veiled swipes at Mr. Sanders, who has found himself on the defensive on guns as he struggles to explain why in 2005 he voted to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits.

“It’s time to pick a side,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Either we stand with the gun lobby, or we join the president and stand up to them. I’m with him.”

During his address, the president again called for new gun-safety measures, including expanded background checks.

Mr. Sanders stresses that he supports such provisions, but has struggled to explain his 2005 vote beyond saying he’s re-examining the issue.

With the Clinton campaign mounting an all-out assault on guns, Mr. Sanders on Tuesday night tried to change the conversation.

“I am willing to re-look at that,” he told CNN just after the State of the Union, referring to the 2005 vote. “But I think as important as the issue of guns are, the fact that we have so many gun deaths, we also have to focus on other issues, and that includes the disappearance of the American middle class, a corrupt campaign finance system where candidates like Secretary Clinton have PACs that are bringing in huge amounts of money from very wealthy and powerful special interests, and the fact we have got to demand the wealthiest people in this country pay their fair share of taxes.”

Mr. Sanders went on to say that he believes Mrs. Clinton has decided to “pick on this issue” because she’s dropping in the polls and now is in danger of losing both Iowa and New Hampshire.

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