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Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam Calls Bernie Sanders ‘Contemptible’

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam came back hard at Bernie Sanders after the presidential candidate accused his company of “corporate greed” while addressing striking wireline workers yesterday in Brooklyn.

“You have chosen to stand up for dignity, for justice and to take on an enormously powerful special interest,” the senator from Vermont said, just days after charging GE with “destroying the moral fabric of our country” by outsourcing jobs and ducking taxes.

McAdam fired back in a LinkedIn essay, describing Sanders’ views as “uninformed” and “contemptible,” and pointing to the more than $15.6 billion in taxes and $35 billion in U.S. investments the communications giant has paid out over the past two years.

He also cited GE chairman/CEO Jeff Immelt’s response to Sanders. “We’ve never been a big hit with socialists,” Immelt wrote on his LinkedIn page. “We create wealth and jobs, instead of just calling for them in speeches.”

But a Sanders campaign spokesman told USA Today that McAdam’s was being disingenuous, noting that Verizon paid no federal income taxes in five of the last 15 years; makes billions in profits; and pays its executives tens of millions in compensation.

“The least this greedy corporation can do is negotiate a fair contract with its workers,” he said.

Sanders’ campaign also made hay with McAdam’s rebuke. In an email fundraising appeal, the senator cited Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s stance against big-money interests, and their mutual dislike for him.

“Like FDR, I welcome the contempt of Verizon’s CEO,” Sanders wrote. “He doesn’t like that this week I walked the picket line with striking Verizon workers, or that I think Verizon needs to pay its fair share in taxes.”

Bernie, that’s no way to win a CTA Ninja Award.

Hat tip to USA Today.