Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: Trump is 'a pathological liar' Pressure grows on Perez to enter DNC race Senate sends annual defense bill to Obama's desk MORE made a point of breaking from his pledge to run a positive campaign Monday night, as he launched into full-scale attack mode against presidential rival Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFeinstein after dinner with Clinton: She has 'accepted' her loss Sanders: Trump is 'a pathological liar' Clintons remember John Glenn as a 'uniquely American hero' MORE at a Democratic forum.
Speaking at a town hall event in Iowa, where Clinton will follow him on stage in less than an hour, the Vermont senator was asked to respond to a new ad from the former secretary of State that touts her as the most experienced candidate to handle the myriad issues the nation faces.
Sanders got to his feet for dramatic effect, and then acknowledged that he was about to break one of his own campaign rules.
Sanders then directly attacked his rival for voting in favor of the war in Iraq, for failing to do enough to regulate Wall Street and for being slow to join him in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and the Obama administration’s trade agenda.
Sanders particularly sought to draw a distinction between himself and Clinton on the war in Iraq.
“The truth is that the most significant vote and issue regarding foreign policy that we have seen in this country in modern history is the vote on the war in Iraq,” Sanders said. “That’s the fact. I voted against the war in Iraq … it gives me no pleasure to tell you that much of what I feared might happen did happen. Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq.”
Moving on to Wall Street, the independent said he led the fight to regulate the financial securities industry, but “my side lost.”
“See where Hillary Clinton was on that issue,” Sanders said.
On climate change, Sanders noted that he has long opposed the Keystone oil pipeline, and asked viewers: “Why did it take Hillary Clinton such a long time before she came into opposition?”
He echoed that argument in bringing up the Obama administration’s Pacific trade deal, which is opposed by many liberals.
“I didn’t have to think hard about imposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said. “It took Hillary Clinton a long time to come on board with that.”
Sanders concluded: “In other words, yeah, I think I have the background and judgment to take this very, very difficult job of being President of the United States.”
Monday night’s forum comes just one week before the Iowa caucuses. Sanders and Clinton have been sharpening their attacks against one another as polling shows a tight race in the first-in-the-nation state.