WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders snapped at a reporter Tuesday that he was not breaking Senate Ethics rules by using the Senate to campaign for the presidency.
“I’m not campaigning here! I’m talking! You’re asking me questions,“ he growled.
According to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, “Senate space, equipment, staff time, and resources generally should not be used to assist campaign organizations.”
The rule, however, did not stop Sanders from taking to the Senate leaders’ podium and talking to reporters after Hillary gave a presser on the House side prior her visit to Senate Democrats.
Sanders response came after leaving the weekly Senate Democrat lunch, which was attended by fellow Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The Vermont senator, a self-declared democratic socialist, walked up to the podium set up for Senate leaders’ weekly pressers and started an impromptu press conference before the Congressional press corp.
Sanders called the deal with Iran a “major step forward” but that the “devil was in the details.”
He also welcomed Clinton back to the Senate, saying, “I very much look forward to this campaign and a serious debate about the very serious crisis’s facing our country. I don’t like negative campaigns. I’ve never ran a negative ad in my life. I believe the American people are entitled to a serious discussion to serious issues. Secretary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. There are issues where we come from the same place.”
He continued, “Some of the areas where we disagree are on trade. I happen to believe that the trade agreements that passed here over the last three decades—NAFTA, CAFTA and the Chinese trade agreement TPP have been disastrous for American workers and have led to loss of jobs. Secretary Clinton, I believe, has a different view on that issue.”
Sanders talked about his opposition to the war in Iraq as well as his vote against the Patriot Act.
Additionally, he discussed the pope’s concern for global warming. “I happen to agree very strongly with Pope Francis, that climate change is the great planetary crisis that we face. I helped lead the opposition to the keystone pipeline,” he said, referring to oil as the “dirtiest fuel on this planet. I think Secretary Clinton has not been clear on her views on that issue.”