Bernie Sanders challenges Hillary Clinton on trade deal and Iraq war | US news | The Guardian
Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, on Sunday outlined what he said were differences between his campaign and that of the clear frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. Sanders again linked the former secretary of state to the “billionaires” he says dominate US politics, but widened his criticisms to include the former secretary of state’s positions on international trade agreements, the Iraq war and the threat of climate change.
Sanders and Clinton are the only candidates so far to have declared on the Democratic side; Clinton leads polls on the issue by more than 50%. Appearing on CBS on Sunday, Sanders was asked what was wrong with Clinton as a Democratic candidate for president. “Let me give you an example,” Sanders said. “Congress is in the midst of a debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP, an agreement with 12 Asian countries]. I am strongly opposed to that trade agreement on the grounds that it follows in the footsteps of other disastrous trade agreements that have cost us millions of jobs.”
Last month, Sanders wrote an op-ed column for the Guardian on the TPP, the largest trade deal in US history, in which he said: “The TPP is simply the continuation of a failed approach to trade – an approach which benefits large multinational corporations and Wall Street, but which is a disaster for working families. The TPP must be defeated.” TPP is supported by the Obama administration but opposed by many in the Democratic party. In an interview with Yahoo Politics that was published on Saturday, Obama said a prominent voice against TPP, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, was “absolutely wrong” on the issue.
Clinton has so far handled TPP with extreme care – last month her campaign chief, John Podesta, was caught in private remarks to donors saying: “Can you make it go away?” On Sunday, Sanders broadened his attack: “On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq … Not only I voted against, I helped lead the effort against what I knew would be a disaster. “On climate change, I have helped lead the effort against the Keystone pipeline. I’m not quite sure Hillary Clinton has come out with a position on that. So those are just some areas where we differ.” Sanders also repeated his determination to overturn the 2010 Citizens United supreme court decision, which gave rise to unrestrained spending on elections. “As a result of this disastrous Citizens United supreme court decision, clearly the billionaires, the Koch brothers and all this, are owning the political process,” he said. “They will determine who the candidates are. “Let me say this: if elected president, I will have a litmus test in terms of my nominee to be a supreme court justice. And that nominee will say that we are going to overturn this disastrous supreme court decision because that decision is undermining US democracy. I do not believe billionaires should be able to buy politicians.”