Bernie Sanders Uses Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘America’ in New Ad

Bernie Sanders Uses Simon & Garfunkel's

The campaign of Bernie Sanders debuted an inspirational ad on Thursday that features Simon & Garfunkel’s 1968 song “America” as its soundtrack, but a spokesman for the candidate said it was not meant as an endorsement from the duo.

The spot has drawn strong reviews from ad makers, but also was the source of a fracas between the Sanders campaign and one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent supporters.

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sanders, said that the music was properly licensed. A representative for Garfunkel said that singer gave his approval, while a rep for Simon, who also wrote the song, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The one-minute ad features scenes from Sanders’ campaign rallies, along with images of everyday Americans at work in offices and on farms. The skyline of Des Moines is shown in one glimpse.

The campaign introduced the spot in a press release early on Thursday. “‘They’ve all come to look for America,’ sing Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel in their classic folk rock anthem as faces flash on the screen of people backing Bernie’s insurgent campaign for president.

“In Iowa alone, Sanders has spoken to more than 40,000 people at rallies and town halls since his campaign began last spring.”

The spot will run in Iowa and New Hampshire beginning on Friday.

The ad already has stirred up tensions between Sanders supporters and backers of Clinton’s.

David Brock, who founded the pro-Clinton PAC Correct the Record, told the Associated Press that the spot was a “slight” to the Democratic base, suggesting that it features too few people of color.

“From this ad it seems black lives don’t matter much to Bernie Sanders,” Brock was quoted as saying.

That drew a rebuke from the Sanders campaign, which issued a statement calling Brock a “mudslinger.”

Briggs said that Sanders “doesn’t need lectures on civil rights and racial issues from David Brock, the head of a Hillary Clinton super PAC. Twenty-five years ago it was Brock – a mud-slinging, right-wing extremist – who tried to destroy Anita Hill, a distinguished African-American law professor. He later was forced to apologize for his lies about her. Today, he is lying about Sen. Sanders. It’s bad enough that Hillary Clinton is raising millions in special-interest money in her super PACS. It is worse that she would hire a mudslinger like David Brock. She should be ashamed of her association with Brock.”

Campaigns have been anxious to adopt classic American rock and folk songs at rallies and in ad spots. Republicans in particular have run into trouble from artists who claim that they did not give campaigns their approval to use their works, often with the worry that it would make it seem that they were giving their endorsement. Donald Trump, for instance, ran Neil Young’s “Rockin in the Free World” at his announcement speech in June. Young, however, said he never gave the campaign his approval and instead supports Sanders.

Supporters of Clinton and Sanders are planning a series of events in the next week before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses.

On Monday, Chelsea Clinton is scheduled to visit Los Angeles for a series of fundraisers, including an event at the offices of Frank Gehry, with tickets starting at $250 per person.

On Tuesday, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Nealon, George Lopez and Paul Rodriguez are headlining a fundraiser at Jamie Masada’s Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Sanders will not be there, but each of the comics is expected to perform.

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  1. Everybody hold hands and sing along with Bernie’s vibe? I think I’ll
    pass into the lane that thinks more “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy.
    Bernie Sanders is a nice guy, but this presidential race is not about
    being nice, its about time we don’t have for another lecturing
    academic. America needs a chief executive who puts American workers
    first in the real world, not in a Utopian Fantasy Island version from
    the 1960s. A “practice makes perfect” approach to the Oval Office just
    perpetuates a continued screwing of the middle class at our expense by
    the Masters of The Universe in government factually controlled by Wall
    Save the sing along with Bernie for your
    Grandparent’s anniversary party, not the political and economic
    realities begging our determination to “throw out ALL the bums” who
    promise everything, deliver nothing, and sandbag change all the while.
    So, hey Bernie, “Straight Outta Burlington,” change that bong water and
    join the bro’ underclass your generation milked like your cows in Vermont,
    while you were “all gone to look for America.” Look up, Bernie! Its da
    plane, da plane!!! Air Force One and…cows?

    • Samantha says:

      You might like the songs hophop artists have been writing and playing for the campaign. And their fundraisers.

      Also look up his social justice platform. Google “shaun king endorses sanders” and others. Certainly you’ve already seen Killer Mike’s YouTube interview series? Since you’re so knowledgeable about Iowa and all….

    • Kurt Sprague says:

      You know the sound when you put the back of your hand to your mouth and blow hard? I think it’s called “the raspberry”? Well I’d like to use that as a response to your comment, but how do you translate that noise to letters or words?

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  3. cyd peace says:

    Hillary better reign in her snarling dogs. They are making her look like a shrew. politicking using insinuation and mild trips of the tongue is SO Republican.

  4. Very cool racist ad. There are more White people than at a Trump rally.

    • Samantha says:

      Maybe you should read the article. The ad is for Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders has plenty of PoC in his campaign now, so I’ll let them advise the agencies on what will make good copy for SC & NV.

      Thanks for your concern.

    • Jesse Newman says:

      Seems right for Iowa/New Hampshire where it’s running. I’m sure it will change when he moves into the southern states. Sanders is a very vocal advocate of people from all walks coming together.

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