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Politics

Clinton On Defensive Vs. Sanders

 

MANCHESTER — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders opened up a new line of attack in the Democratic presidential primary on Wednesday, putting Hillary Clinton on the defensive over her liberal credentials just days after she eked a slim victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Sanders, who has a sizable lead in the upcoming New Hampshire primary, rattled off a list of issues where Clinton isn’t in sync with the liberal wing of the party, including trade, Wall Street regulation, climate change, campaign finance and the 2002 authorization of the war in Iraq.

“I do not know any progressive who has a super PAC and takes $15 million from Wall Street,” Sanders said, referring to outside fund raising groups during a candidate forum sponsored by CNN. “That’s just not progressive.”

Clinton moved quickly to defend her record, saying that under Sanders’ criteria President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and even the deceased Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, a champion of liberal causes, would not be considered progressive.

“I know where I stand,” said Clinton. “But I don’t think it helps for the senator to be making those kinds of comparisons because clearly we all share the same hopes and aspirations for our country.”

She also pushed back on charges by Sanders and his allies that she cannot be trusted to regulate Wall Street because of the millions in speaking fees she made from the industry before announcing her presidential bid. An Associated Press analysis of public disclosure forms and records released by her campaign found that Clinton made $9 million from appearances sponsored by banks, insurance companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate businesses.

Clinton said she was still deciding whether to run for president when she accepted the appearances

“I don’t know,” she said, when asked why she was paid such a high speaking fee. “That is what they offered.”

The back-and-forth on progressive credentials was the latest example of tensions between Clinton and Sanders as the race nears the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary. The Democratic rivals are expected to appear at a debate on Thursday night and both camps have quarreled over the timing and locations of three debates planned for later this spring.

Sanders’ razor-thin loss in the Iowa caucuses Monday, and his formidable lead in New Hampshire polls, have heightened the possibility that the two remaining Democrats will be involved in a protracted fight for the nomination.

“We are in this until the convention,” Sanders told reporters on Tuesday. He said the narrow Iowa outcome showed his campaign’s ability to take on Clinton’s vast political network and address doubts among voters about his electability.

Clinton acknowledged that she yet to win over broad swaths of the party, particularly younger voters. In Iowa, Sanders won 84 percent of voters under age 30 and 58 percent of those aged 30-44 according to entrance polls.

“I respect the fact that I have work to do,” said Clinton. “They don’t have to be for me, I will be for them.”

LISA LERER, Associated Press
CATHERINE LUCEY, Associated Press

 

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Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report from Keene, N.H.

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