KALAMAZOO, Mich. – One day before Michigan Democrats go to the polls, Bernie Sanders on Monday campaigned for president in Michigan and set the record straight on Hillary Clinton’s dishonest distortion of his record on an automobile industry rescue package.
Clinton, who has struggled to downplay her support for job-killing trade deals, used a Sunday night debate in Flint, Michigan, to disingenuously mischaracterize Sanders record on the auto industry. In fact, Sanders voted for the carmaker bailout. He supported a $14 billion aid package which passed the House on Dec. 10, 2008. When that bill ran into a Senate Republican roadblock, the White House turned to a separate Wall Street bailout fund for loans to the auto industry.
In an interview on Monday with WOOD-TV, Sanders called Clinton’s claim “not true” and said it was part of a “disingenuous” attempt to deflect attention from her trade record. “It is absolutely untrue to say I voted against helping the automobile industry and workers,” Sanders told the Grand Rapids, Michigan, television station.
During a rally at a hockey rink here in Kalamazoo, Sanders also spoke to more than 3,200 supporters about Clinton’s record on trade and his support for workers in the auto industry. “She has supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade agreements which have wreaked havoc,” Sanders told the rally. The North American Free Trade Agreement and other business-backed trade deals contributed to the loss of more than 230,000 manufacturing jobs in Michigan since 1994.
To deflect attention from her own record, Sanders said, Clinton “went out of her way to mischaracterize” his record of support for auto workers. “There was one vote in the United States Senate to support the automobile industry and, of course, I voted for it. To say otherwise is simply not telling the truth,” he said. “I understand that Secretary Clinton wants to deflect attention away from her record supporting trade agreements like NAFTA and normal trade relations with China but she shouldn’t do that by mischaracterizing my record. What I did not vote for is the bailout of the crooks on Wall Street whose illegal behavior and greed brought this economy into the worst downturn since the 1930s.”
Before the debate in Flint, Michigan, Sanders on Sunday met in Detroit with Dennis Williams, the United Auto Workers union president. In a statement afterward, Sanders said: “I met with UAW President Dennis Williams and we discussed the many bad trade deals that have decimated the manufacturing industry here in Michigan. In particular, we talked about what the UAW now considers a mistake — the Korea trade deal that cost tens of thousands of jobs – a trade agreement that Secretary Clinton worked to negotiate and, as president, I would work to re-negotiate.”
After the Kalamazoo rally, Sanders was headed to campaign stops in Dearborn, Detroit and Ann Arbor in advance of Tuesday’s primary election in Michigan. Over the weekend, Sanders notched three, double-digit wins in caucuses in Maine, Nebraska and Kansas.
To read more on Sanders’ record of supporting the auto bailout, click here.