— -- Bernie Sanders responded to attacks from Hillary Clinton this morning, telling ABC News’ David Muir that the former secretary of state took his comments about Donald Trump out of context.
Clinton had accused the Vermont senator of calling Trump’s recent controversial statement about punishing women and banning abortion a “distraction.”
“I have been spending my entire political life fighting for the right of women to control their own body,” Sanders said on "GMA." “I have a 100 percent voting record and if elected president I will continue to defend a women’s right to chose and I will take on those Republican governors all over this country who are trying to restrict and take away that right. What Secretary Clinton did was take things out of context.”
Sanders then fired back with criticism of his own, defending activists from Greenpeace who accused Clinton on Thursday of taking money from the fossil fuel industry.
“The fact of the matter is Secretary Clinton has taken significant money from the fossil fuel industry. She raises her money with a super PAC. She gets a lot of money from Wall Street, from the drug companies and fossil fuel industry,” he said.
The Clinton campaign argued Thursday that Greenpeace and the Sanders campaign were misleading voters.
“The simple truth is that this campaign has not taken a dollar from oil and gas industry PACs or corporations. The simple fact is that the Sanders campaign is misleading voters with their attacks. The money in question is from individuals who work for these companies,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, employees of oil and gas companies have contributed $307,000 to Clinton’s campaign and $54,000 to Sanders' campaign. Moreover, 57 registered K-street oil, coal and gas lobbyists have personally given $126,200 to the Clinton campaign, according to a report by Greenpeace. Of those 57, 11 are "bundlers" who have raised an additional $1,140,930 in contributions to her campaign, Greenpeace said.
The Greenpeace document also looks at donations to Clinton's super PAC Priorities Action USA and concludes that contributors with ties to the industry gave over $3,000,000 to that group.
Interestingly, Sanders stood by his promise not to run negative ads even if he secures the Democratic nomination and faces Trump in the general election. He said what he would do is draw contrasts with Republicans who “want to cut Social Security, want to cut Medicare, who believe climate change is a hoax.” He added that he believes the American people want to hear about issues and not “about savage attacks.”
During the interview, Muir played a video clip of "Saturday Night Live" which parodied Clinton changing her talking points to sound more like Sanders. “Do you think being in the race, you have forced Secretary Clinton to evolve her message?” Muir asked Sanders.
“I think if you look at issue after issue after issue she has moved very much closer to us,” the Senator replied. “But what people really have to look at is who has been there for decades...I think if people check the record they will find that Bernie Sanders was there a lot earlier than Hillary Clinton.”