In a staggering case of politically convenient amnesia, Hillary Clinton attacked Bernie Sanders’ record on healthcare. At a rally in St. Louis, MO, on Saturday, Clinton implied that Sanders wasn’t the healthcare activist he’s making himself out to be.
“I always get a little chuckle when I hear my opponent talk about doing it. Well, I don’t know where he was when I was trying to get healthcare in ’93, ’94 standing up against the insurance companies, standing up against the drug companies.”
Sanders’ staff must have an arsenal of videos and proof at the ready, because immediately after her remark, the Sanders campaign tweeted a video dating from 1993 of Bernie standing directly behind Clinton during a press conference about healthcare. In the video, she thanked Bernie Sanders by name, saying she was “grateful” that then-congressman Sanders could be there with her.
The immediate response came from Mike Casca, Bernie Sanders’ rapid response director, so it comes as no surprise that the campaign was ready for such an attack. His tweet was short and to the point which quickly shut down any manufactured doubt about Sanders’ commitment to the heathcare fight.
ABC News reports that Clinton’s communications director, Jen Palmieri, responded to the tweet, brushing aside speculation that it was a gaffe and that the video actually proves Clinton’s point regarding her pioneering efforts in healthcare reform.
“He is literally standing behind her. She is literally the one out front.”
Casca, not accepting Palmieri’s own unique spin on Clinton’s accusation, replied to her comment with wit and brevity in another tweet, punctuating it with a shrugging emoji.
This is not the first time Hillary Clinton has manipulated the truth in her favor. Throughout the Democratic campaign, Clinton has attacked Sanders multiple times on his record to little or no avail. Hers are the kind of “swift boat” tactics Republicans used on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the 2004 race.
The difference between 2004 and 2016, though, is the Internet. During Kerry’s presidential run, it was still a relatively new technology, and it was time consuming and difficult to dig up the truth.
2016, however, is an age of instant information access. Instead of taking hours or even days to refute a falsehood, campaigns can disprove falsehoods within minutes.
This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why Clinton’s attacks on his healthcare, immigration, and auto bailout records are not significantly harming Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. With lightning speed, a campaign staffer can send out evidence contrary to his opponent’s claims, thereby quashing it before it ever has a chance to enter into the collective psyche.
Hillary’s “amnesia” about where Sanders was while she was working for healthcare reform is bemusing at best. Surely she knows an old photograph of her sitting next to Bernie Sanders discussing universal healthcare has circulated the Internet for several months now. In a day and age when instant corrections are the norm, why she would knowingly say an untruth is baffling.
Earlier in the week at the Florida debate, Clinton alleged that Sanders wants to delay the Clean Power Plan. According to Politifact, that is a complete falsehood. The plan’s goal is to “cut carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants” by 32 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030. The Supreme Court suspended the plan on Feb. 9.
While Hillary claims Sanders would delay its implementation, the truth is that he would implement a more comprehensive plan that incentivizes renewables rather than gas, and would extend solar and wind credits up to 2030. He would also regulate methane emissions in the plan.
Despite the Clinton campaign’s relentless efforts to paint Bernie Sanders in a negative light, the Internet has enabled his campaign to reveal the truth faster than she can say “pants on fire.”
[Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images]