Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday unloaded on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and his supporters who have attacked his wife, Hillary, as she campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president.
Sanders and Hillary Clinton are fighting for the Democratic Party’s nomination after a close race in Iowa that saw Clinton eke out a narrow victory.
Bill has hit the trail in New Hampshire, which holds its primary Tuesday, to campaign on behalf of his wife.
Speaking in Milford on Sunday, Bill attacked Sanders for pushing an anti-establishment message despite being a veteran politician himself. After a long-running career in the House of Representatives and Senate as an independent, Sanders is running for president as a Democrat.
“‘Anybody who takes money from Goldman Sachs can’t possibly be president.’ You heard that, sort of, in the last debate,” Bill said, referring to Sanders’ attacks on Hillary Clinton for accepting large speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. “Well after that CNN report yesterday he may have to tweak that answer a little bit. Either that or we’re gonna have to get us a write-in candidate.”
Bill Clinton was referring to a CNN story that detailed Sanders’ fundraising with big-wig Democratic donors. Sanders has reportedly hosted events at retreats on Martha’s Vineyard for donors who give more than $30,000 a year, according to the story.
“I practically fell out of my chair when I saw it,” Bill Clinton said.
He also took aim at Sanders supporters who have supposedly attacked Hillary Clinton’s backers online. Clinton supporters have been subjected to “vicious trolling” and “attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat,” Bill Clinton said.
He mocked Sanders’ supporters as having the view that “anybody that doesn’t agree with me is a tool of the establishment” and said that “when you’re making a revolution, you can’t be too careful with the facts,” hitting at one of Sanders’ central campaign themes.
His heated rhetoric comes as Hillary Clinton trails Sanders by a wide margin in the Granite State. The Clinton campaign is looking to close the gap in the vote as much as possible.
Bill Clinton’s Sunday riff earned comparisons to 2008, when Hillary Clinton faced off against another insurgent challenger — President Barack Obama.
In The Washington Post, Greg Sargent called Bill Clinton’s attacks “a tad over the top.”
“Bill really should avoid any overt, reductive mockery of the appeal of Sanders’ broad critique of our political system, which risks alienating Sanders supporters who are getting engaged in the political process, many no doubt for the first time in their lives,” he wrote.
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