November 29, 2017

David Brock Attacked Bernie Sanders’ Health (And Then Lied About It)

What (Really) Happened, Day #14

From spending $1 million to create fake outrage on social media to linking Bernie Sanders to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, there are countless ways that David Brock helped cost Democrats the 2016 election.

Another one of those ways was his decision to attack the 75-year-old senator’s health.

In January 2016, right before the Iowa caucuses, POLITICO reported that the Media Matters founder was preparing a barrage of attacks aimed at pressuring Bernie Sanders to release his medical records. It didn’t end well.

Within one hour of the story being posted, Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta tweeted that Brock should “chill out,” implying that he had had no idea what was planned. (The Clinton campaign was legally allowed to coordinate with Correct The Record, one of Brock’s super PACs, at the time.)

A few hours later, Brock tweeted that he was NOT going to attack Sanders’ health and, citing “false media reports” (clearly directed at POLITICO), falsely claimed that he was never going to. “[W]e are not planning an attack on this and have not even discussed it internally,” he wrote.

Later that week, though, Brock admitted on Bloomberg Television’s “With All Due Respect” that, in fact, he WAS planning to attack Sanders over his health and even confirmed that the POLITICO story was accurate.


DAVID BROCK: I was prepared to bring that up. I was scheduled to do a couple of interviews over the weekend in Charleston, and so I was prepared to bring that up.

JOHN HEILEMANN: So the POLITICO story is correct.

BROCK: Yeah, that’s right.

HEILEMANN: Okay, so John Podesta came out and said, ‘You need to chill out,’ and not do it. When you see Podesta says that, your reaction is . . . you stand down?

BROCK: I thought it was a friendly, kind of amusing tweet.

. . .

HEILEMANN: Are you effectively an arm of the campaign? Is that basically what this means?

BROCK: We’re not the campaign. So the way it works is: We can coordinate. It doesn’t mean everything we say and do is coordinated.

MARK HALPERIN: But, if you do something and then you get slapped down by John Podesta, some people are going to look at that and say, ‘This is kind of like a fake good-cop-bad-cop thing.’ If you do something, is the campaign responsible for it?

BROCK: I don’t think so. The thing is, John, I mean, I thought it was amusing but it was a disavowal of what I did and they’re entitled to do that, and in fact they had nothing to do with it so I think it was smart.

HALPERIN: So you go off doing these things without checking with them?

BROCK: I don’t want to get into what I do and don’t check with them.