Presidential races

Clinton surrogate: Sanders not a ‘true friend’ to blacks

Hillary Clinton surrogates on Wednesday bashed Bernie Sanders as “absent” from the African-American community as the campaign looks to pivot away from a resounding defeat in New Hampshire. 

“It’s good to have new friends but I would prefer to have true friends,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters on a conference call with reporters convened to tout Clinton’s record with the black community.

{mosads}”Hillary Clinton has been a true friend to the African-American community for more than 40 years. During that same period of time, Bernie Sanders has been largely missing in action.”  

Jeffries was joined by NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes and South Carolina Minority Leader J. Todd Rutherford, who announced his endorsement of Clinton on Wednesday. 
The message from all three remained the same–despite his rhetoric on the stump, Sanders has been missing in action from the issues most important to the black community for the majority of his career. And that this “new” tack from Sanders isn’t as credible because of his history.  
The Clinton campaign has worked to shift attention to races in South Carolina and Nevada, states with more diverse electorates where Clinton is outperforming her rival. 
But while Sanders faces significant polling gaps with black and Hispanic voters, his allies hope that his strong victory in New Hampshire will prompt voters to take a second look at him in the next week. 
Sanders has secured the endorsements of several prominent black leaders, including former NAACP head Ben Jealous and academic Cornell West, as well as two black state lawmakers who had previously endorsed Clinton. 
During Jealous’s endorsement of Sanders last week, he framed the senator as a “consistent fighter” against racism and noted his participation in the March on Washington as well as the fact that he was arrested in the 1960s protesting with the Congress on Racial Equality.
But the Clinton surrogates bashed Sanders’s record on guns, noting that he voted against significant gun control legislation throughout his career. They also questioned his commitment to criminal justice reform by noting that he voted for the 1994 crime bill.
President Bill Clinton signed that bill into law and used it as part of his “tough on crime” push around his 1996 reelection. He has since renounced his support of it. 
When a reporter noted that Sanders had attended the March on Washington in 1963 and had protested in favor of civil rights during his youth, Dukes pushed back.
“I walked in Washington, thousands of people walked in Washington, but what are the real policy issues or legislation that he has presented?” she asked. 
The conference call came just after the campaign announced a number of developments geared toward the African-American community. In addition to Rutherford’s endorsement, the campaign  announced that Chelsea Clinton will travel to Flint, Mich., a predominately black city facing a public health crisis. Additionally, it said that President  Clinton, as well as a group of African-American mothers whose children who were killed by gun violence, will also hit the trail to support Clinton’s campaign. 
Tags Bernie Sanders Bill Clinton Hillary Clinton

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