Actress Rosario Dawson welcomes U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders to the stage at a campaign rally in Syracuse, N.Y., April 12, 2016. 
Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

Rosario Dawson stands by Monica Lewinsky reference

Actress Rosario Dawson is hitting the road in support of her 2016 candidate of choice — Sen. Bernie Sanders — while standing by a controversial talking point she rolled out previously on the campaign trail.

The “Sin City” star will be stumping for Sanders ahead of the crucial June 7 California primary in an unconventional way. She’ll be taking turns at the wheel of an RV alongside “Divergent” star Shailene Woodley and “How to Get Away With Murder” cast member Kendrick Sampson, spreading the Vermont senator’s gospel throughout twelve cities in the Golden State.

However, it may be Dawson’s decision to double down on her past references to former President Bill Clinton’s personal life that could capture the most headlines. In April, while addressing a Wilmington, Delaware rally of Sanders supporters, Dawson said, “We are literally under attack for not just supporting the other candidate. Now, I’m with Monica Lewinsky with this. Bullying is bad. She has actually dedicated her life now to talking about that. And now, as a campaign strategy, we are being bullied, and, somehow that is OK and not being talked about with the richness that it needs.”

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Lewinsky, a former White House intern, engaged in an affair with Bill Clinton while he was in office and later spoke out about the harassment and attacks she endured because of her role in the ensuing scandal, which eventually led to the former president’s impeachment. (He was acquitted.)

Dawson’s decision to reference Lewinsky came under fire at the time, and was held up alongside comments from fellow actors Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins as examples of how Sanders campaign surrogates often veered off script, with potentially detrimental results. A number of famous Clinton backers have also been called out for undermining their candidate, like feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright, who were widely criticized for suggesting “there’s a special place in hell” for women who don’t vote for the Democratic front-runner.

While Clinton’s likely general election rival, Donald Trump, has not only made former President Clinton’s inappropriate conduct a centerpiece of his campaign but expanded upon the attacks to suggest he is perhaps guilty of both rape and murder, Dawson doesn’t have any regrets about raising the Lewinsky issue.

“Bullying is a huge big issue and especially putting myself out there for Bernie Sanders and not just immediately endorsing a female candidate … Monica’s TED talk and her stance on bullying has actually been a source of comfort to me,” Dawson told the Irish Times this weekend.

Sanders will need all the help he can get as he tries to pull off a huge upset on June 7, which could help give him the momentum he needs to persuade superdelegates (who are overwhelmingly backing Hillary Clinton) to jump ship and join his campaign. In California, the presence of Hollywood’s elite could, in theory, make a difference.

Still, Clinton is no slouch in the celebrity endorsement department. George and Amal Clooney have already hosted a high-priced fundraiser on her behalf, while “Girls” star Lena Dunham and pop music hitmaker Katy Perry will be pulling out all the stops between now and the primary to put Clinton over the finish line for the Democratic nomination. 

Meanwhile, for her part, Lewinsky has stayed mum on the 2016 race. In a recent interview with The Guardian, when asked how she felt about being used as a political football by the Trump campaign this fall she said: “I’m affected by what happens on the world stage, but I don’t let it deter me.”

Bernie Sanders and Monica Lewinsky

Rosario Dawson stands by Monica Lewinsky reference