Sanders calls Clinton’s use of people like Clooney “the problem with American politics.” (Photos: Elaine Thompson/AP, Jeff Bottari/AP)
Bernie Sanders likes George Clooney. But the Vermont senator says Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s use of the actor in a pair of high-priced fundraisers next month is nonetheless “obscene.”
“It is obscene that Secretary Clinton keeps going to big-money people to fund her campaign,” Sanders said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
Clinton is asking donors for $353,400 for two seats at the head table with herself, Clooney and his wife, Amal, at the April 15 event in San Francisco. The next night, the Clooneys will host a $33,400 per person fundraiser for Clinton at the couple’s Los Angeles home.
“I have a lot of respect for George Clooney. He’s a great actor. I like him,” Sanders said. “But this is the problem with American politics … Big money is dominating our political system. And [my supporters and I] are trying to move as far away from that as we can.”
Sanders, whose campaign has been largely funded by small donations, says his events usually cost “$15 or $50” to get into.
“So it’s not a criticism of Clooney,” he said. “It’s a criticism of a corrupt campaign finance system, where big money interests — and it’s not Clooney, it’s the people coming to this event — have undue influence on the political process.”
Throughout the Democratic primary, the self-described democratic socialist has attacked Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. He did so again Sunday.
“It’s not only this Clooney event,” Sanders said. “It is the fact she has now raised well over $15 million from Wall Street for her super-PAC, and millions more from the fossil fuel industry, and from the drug companies.”
Clinton’s Clooney swing comes less than two months before the crucial Democratic primary on June 7 in California, where 475 delegates are at stake.
Sanders, who trails Clinton in the delegate count, believes he can make up the ground.
"We think we do have a path to victory,” he said following his victories in Saturday’s Democratic caucuses in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii. “We’ve won the last five out of six contests, all of them in landslide victories.”
“What we showed yesterday is in fact the momentum is with us,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We think we’re going to do well in Wisconsin. We think we got a real shot in New York. And then we go out to California. You go out to Oregon. That’s the most progressive part of America. We think we’re going to do very well there.”
Sanders also believes many of the so-called superdelegates who’ve pledged their support for Clinton will “rethink their position” and come around to him.
“I think when they begin to look at the reality, and that is that we in poll after poll are beating Donald Trump by much larger margins than is Secretary Clinton,” Sanders said on CNN. “I think their people are going to say to them, look, why don’t you support the people of our state, vote Bernie Sanders.”