Former President Bill Clinton went after Bernie Sanders during a New Hampshire campaign rally on Sunday, ripping into the Senator’s attacks against Hillary Clinton and destroying his spending plans. Clinton appeared angry as he attacked Sanders, portraying his campaign as dishonest and his healthcare proposals as unrealistic.
Bill Clinton said Sanders’ message was “hermetically-sealed” from reality and ridiculed its implication that “anybody that doesn’t agree… is a tool of the establishment.’” Clinton’s attack highlights a strong escalation in the language Clinton has used on the campaign trail and came as polls suggest Sanders could be headed for a clear victory in the state’s upcoming primary.
Clinton aired his frustration over his wife’s ties to Wall Street as he spoke to a crowd about 30 at a middle school in Milford, New Hampshire. He said his wife was getting money from the right and from the left and if she were weak on Wall Street, “why would there be two major hedge fund managers setting up two super PACs spending millions of dollars to attack her?” No they’d be attacking her opponent. Bill Clinton said Sanders’ message was “hermetically-sealed” from reality and ridiculed its implication that “anybody that doesn’t agree… is a tool of the establishment.'”
Clinton also attack Sanders campaign for stealing information from their computers – comparing the incident to stealing a car with the keys in the ignition and addressed young voters, who currently favor Sanders over Hillary Clinton by two to one. “Free college for everyone sounds better than what I said … [but] we can’t afford everything.” He set out his wife’s record of achievements, contrasting them with the rhetoric of the Sanders campaign. In closing, Bill Clinton echoed a refrain his wife has been using while campaigning.
All that matters is whether people are better off when you quit than when you started. We’re going to turn anger into answers, transform resentment into empowerment.”
Bill Clinton spoke to a number of proposals he said Sanders hadn’t adequately explained. He hit Sanders on his single-payer health-care plan: “Is it good for America? I don’t think so. Is it good for New Hampshire? I don’t think so. The New Hampshire I knew would not have voted for me if I had done that.”
Clinton also noted that, in 2000, Sanders voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which helped deregulate Wall Street. Hillary Clinton’s “opponent, a champion of all things small, an enemy of all things big, voted for that bill,” he said of Sanders. “But you will never hear her say that he is the tool of Wall Street because of that.” (As president, Clinton, of course, signed that bill into law.)
The appearance by Mr. Clinton, absent the entourage and crowds that usually surround the former president, was striking and somewhat poignant, and it felt far apart from the frenzied final campaigning happening around the state on Sunday. The junior high school’s small gym was not full, and only a handful of reporters showed up, at a time when campaign events are being flooded with dozens of national and international journalists.
Bernie Sander senior adviser Ted Devine fired back at Clinton’s remarks saying it’s “disappointing that President Clinton has decided to launch these attacks” and said that Mr. Sanders would continue to focus his message on the rigged economy, campaign finance corruption and income inequality. Clinton made his appearance as Secretary Clinton was in Flint, Michigan and other campaign staffers were focused on the primary. Clinton was introduced by former CEO of the Boston Red Sox, Larry Lucchino.