Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has released its first television ad documenting the Vermont senator’s unlikely journey from Brooklyn to Washington.
“The son of a Polish immigrant who grew up in a Brooklyn tenement,” a voiceover says at the beginning of the minute-long ad. “He went to public schools, then college, where the work of his life began: fighting injustice and inequality. Speaking truth to power.”
It highlights Sanders’ four terms as mayor of Burlington, Vt., his opposition to the Iraq War in Congress and his ongoing battle with Wall Street and “a corrupt political system.”
The spot, entitled “Real Change,” will air in Iowa and New Hampshire, part of a $2 million-plus ad buy, according to the campaign.
The ad also notes that Sanders’ grassroots campaign has been funded “by over a million contributions.”
“People are sick and tired of establishment politics and they want real change,” Sanders says in a clip from a stump speech in Oregon.
“Bernie Sanders: Husband. Father. Grandfather,” the voiceover concludes. “An honest leader — building a movement with you to give us a future to believe in.”
Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally in Portland, Ore., in August. (Photo: Troy Wayrynen/AP)
The ad is designed to introduce Sanders to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire who may not be familiar with his upbringing.
“As some of you know, I was born in a faraway land called Brooklyn,” Sanders said in May while formally announcing his presidential bid. “My father came to this country from Poland without a penny in his pocket and without much of an education. My mother graduated high school in New York City. My father worked for almost his entire life as a paint salesman and we were solidly lower middle class. My parents, brother and I lived in a small, rent-controlled apartment. My mother’s dream was to move out of that small apartment into a home of our own. She died young and her dream was never fulfilled. As a kid I learned, in many, many ways, what lack of money means to a family. That’s a lesson I have never forgotten.”
Hillary Clinton also highlighted her late mother’s influence in her campaign’s first TV ads that aired in Iowa and New Hampshire in August.
“When I think about why I’m doing this, I think about my mother, Dorothy,” Clinton says in one of them. “I think about all the Dorothys all over America who fight for their families, who never give up. That’s why I’m doing this, that’s why I’ve always done this: for all the Dorothys.”
As expected, Sanders’ first TV ad does not mention his Democratic opponent.
The Vermont senator, who likes to say he’s “never run a negative political ad” in his life, vowed that his campaign would not resort to “reckless personal attacks or character assassination.”
“My campaign will be driven by issues and serious debate, not political gossip,” Sanders said in May. “This is what I believe the American people want and deserve.”