Hillary Clinton has accused her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders of an “artful smear” by suggesting she could be bought by political donations as the two had a heated exchange during their first one-on-one presidential debate.
Aiming to score a point five days before the important New Hampshire primary, the former Secretary of State last night questioned whether the Vermont Senator’s ambitious proposals were viable.
Watched nationwide during prime-time, the clash between the two Democratic leaders at times went ugly, while at a few times they were seen praising each other.
Sanders, 74, said Clinton cannot claim to be both a moderate and a progressive, criticising her for raising USD 15 million from Wall Street.
Trailing massively behind Sanders in the latest opinion polls of New Hampshire primary, 68-year-old Clinton accused Sanders of a “very artful” smear.
“Enough is enough,” Clinton said. I don’t think these attacks are worthy of you.”
“I think it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out,” Clinton said at the height of the heated debate.
“Senator Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be,” she said in the MSNBC debate.
“And I just absolutely reject that, Senator. And I really don’t think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you’ve got something to say, say it directly. But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received,” Clinton charged responding to Sanders allegations against her.
Sanders said Clinton represent the establishment.
“I represent, I hope, ordinary Americans, who are not all that enamored with the establishment,” he said.
“What being part of the establishment is, in the last quarter, having a super PAC that raised USD 15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one’s life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests,” he alleged.
“To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families,” Sanders said.
Politico reported that the rivalry between Clinton and Sanders intensified after Monday’s Iowa caucuses produced the closest Democratic result in history.
While the contest was ultimately called for Clinton with 49.9 per cent of the delegate count to Sanders’ 49.6 per cent Sanders’s camp is going precinct to precinct rechecking the results.
Clinton defended herself by saying that she does not think one could find any person in political life today who has been subjected to more attacks and had more money spent against her by special interests.