Sanders says he won’t go negative against Hillary Clinton
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 Biden's fiscal program: What is the likely market impact? McConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by 'downplaying progress' on election security MORE (I-Vt.) insisted Wednesday that he will not run negative ads against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhat Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death MORE in his run for the White House.

“I've never run a negative ad in my life,” he said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. “I hate and detest these 30-second ugly, negative ads.

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“I believe that, in a democracy, what elections are about are serious debates on political issues,” added Sanders, who formally entered the race for the White House on Thursday.

Sanders, who few think can defeat Clinton for the Democratic nomination, did say he would look to draw a contrast with Clinton and other candidates.

“Let’s be clear, to say that people disagree on issues and point out those issues, that’s what a debate is about,” he said. “Let me tell you, I run vigorous campaigns.”

Sanders has shown a willingness to criticize the large donations made to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s foundation, which he has described as being emblematic of the problem of money in politics. On Thursday, he called the donations “a fair issue.”

Sanders spoke to the press from the Senate “Swamp” — a briefing area, where the East side of the Capitol acts as a backdrop.

Some nonreporters gathered on a ledge near the podium to watch the conference, which drew a decent-sized crowd of reporters. Cheers were heard when Sanders finished speaking.

He laid out policy positions in line with his positions in the Senate, including reforms to the health care system, making a college education more affordable and reforming the campaign finance system.