Hillary Clinton called out Bernie Sanders for his "artful smear" campaign against her

By Char Adams
February 05, 2016 09:00 AM

Hillary Clinton walked in to Thursday’s Democratic debate wanting to get something off her chest.

“[Senator Bernie Sanders] has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be. But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to, you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought.”

The front-runner and Sanders appeared in their first one-on-one Democratic debate in New Hampshire.

Although the two did tackle their respective plans for several issues, it seems Clinton set her sights on calling Sanders out for his months of criticism – or “artful smear,” as Clinton put it – suggesting hefty speaking fees from big business have influenced Clinton’s campaign.

Bernie Sanders (left) and Hillary Clinton
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty

“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,” she said.

“So I think it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out.”

Sanders held to his familiar critique, noting that a super PAC funding Clinton is partly funded by banks.

“There is a reason why these people are putting huge amounts of money into your political system,” he said, noting that Clinton’s alleged conduct is “undermining American democracy.”

Sanders walked in to the debate with a 20-point lead over Clinton, according to an NBC-Wall Street Journal-Marist poll.

The poll showed Sanders boasting 58 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while Clinton showed 38 percent.

Her bold remarks about Sanders may not help Clinton in the polls, the New York Times reports, noting that her attempt to offset Sanders’ popularity in New Hampshire may backfire with some undecided voters leaning toward Sanders.

Despite rejecting Sanders’ criticisms, Clinton did note that she had not “done the job I should in explaining my record” in regard to her financial regulation. However, she said she would consider releasing transcripts of her speeches to banks.

“I will look into it,” she said. “I don’t know the status, but I will certainly look into it.”

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