Michael Bloomberg adviser Tim O'Brien said Democratic primary frontrunner Bernie Sanders has a "loony side," pointing to the Vermont senator's writings about women's "rape fantasies" and claims that orgasms prevent cervical cancer.
"Bernie has all of this loopy stuff in his background, saying things like women get cancer from having too [few] orgasms, or toddlers should run around naked and touch each other's genitals to insulate themselves from porn," O'Brien said to CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota. "Why has this stuff not been more surfaced? He's written about women's rape fantasies. That hasn't been surfaced. That's the loony side of Bernie."
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The comments from O'Brien come just hours before Bloomberg takes the debate stage for the second time. Bloomberg's team says the former New York City mayor will focus his attention on Sanders, who has established himself as the clear frontrunner to win the Democratic presidential primary. Bloomberg's campaign in recent days has grown increasingly aggressive towards Sanders, mocking him on social media for his comments praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Though Camerota appeared taken aback by O'Brien's remarks, his references were all to well-documented aspects of Sanders's background.
Sanders wrote cervical cancer could be tied to poor "sexual adjustment" in an essay for The Vermont Freeman, a defunct far-left newspaper founded in 1969. Sanders cited a journal called Psychosomatic Medicine to bolster his claim, which has no factual basis. In a 1972 article, Sanders also wrote about a woman fantasizing being "raped by 3 men" in what Mother Jones describes as a "stream-of-consciousness essay on the nature of male-female sexual dynamics."
O'Brien's "toddlers" comment referred to a 1969 piece Sanders wrote, criticizing Vermont for reprimanding a mother who allowed her child to run at the beach naked.
"Now, if children go around naked, they are liable to see each others sexual organs, and maybe even touch them," Sanders wrote. "Terrible thing! If we [raise] children up like this it will probably ruin the whole pornography business, not to mention the large segment of the general economy which makes its money by playing on peoples sexual frustrations."