BERNIE BACKER: While it’s hard to read the tea leaves in a presidential campaign, supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would argue that he just picked up a key endorsement. The Sanders campaign tweeted Wednesday night that Shepard Fairey, the street artist and activist behind the iconic “Hope” poster and campaign ephemera during President Obama’s presidential run in 2008, is backing the Vermont senator this time around.
“I’m supporting Bernie Sanders because I want to push principles, not personalities,” Fairey said in a video released by the Sanders campaign. “I’m tired of portraits. I want to make images about people of substance, about the issues they care about.”
Fairey, who has his own sportswear label Obey, also designed a new T-shirt unveiled by the Sanders campaign. The “union-made” T-shirt features an artistic rendering of Sanders’ “Feel the Bern” slogan and the words “A political revolution” and “A future to believe in.” It is now selling on the candidate’s Web site for $30.
While the endorsement by Fairey is unlikely to swing the polls for Sanders, who is currently running in a close race with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it did give Sanders something to tweet about.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon reacted to the endorsement by criticizing Sanders in a tweet connected to the Fairey video. “Diss Obama by day, do poor-man’s imitation of 2008 campaign by night,” Fallon said of Sanders.
Fairey supported the candidacy of then-Senator Obama in 2008 and created works of art that included stylized versions of Obama with the words “Hope” and “Progress” below various images.
He later became entangled in a legal copyright dispute with the Associated Press, which had copyrighted the image of Obama that Fairey used in his works. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2011.
“Bernie Sanders is the real deal and I feel it’s important for me to voice my support for his bid for President,” Fairey said in a quote on Sanders’ Web site. “I think he’s the candidate who will look out for the interest of average Americans and the candidate who to me embodies the principles of justice, equality, liberty and access to the American Dream.”