Midway through the Democratic debate Tuesday night, CNN moderator Anderson Cooper raised the issue of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, which had maligned the former secretary of state’s campaign.
“I’ve taken responsibility for it; I did say it was a mistake,’’ Clinton said, calling the Benghazi committee an “arm of the Republican National Committee.’’
Then an unexpected voice came to Clinton’s defense: Bernie Sanders, her main primary challenger.
“Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right,’’ Sanders said. “And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.’’
That prompted Clinton — “Thank you, me too’’ — to laugh and nod.
“The middle class in this country is collapsing,’’ Sanders continued. “We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and inequality. It’s cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy as a result. Enough of the emails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.’’
The Vermont senator’s speech drew thunderous applause from the Las Vegas Wynn casino-hotel audience.
“Thank you, Bernie,’’ Clinton said, as she reached out and the two shook hands smiling, as the crowd continued to cheer.
Cooper then rediected the issue to Lincoln Chafee, who criticized Clinton’s handling of her email for undermining the United States’ international credibility.
“Anytime somebody is running to be our leader and a world leader — which the American president is — credibility is an issue out there with the world,’’ the former Rhode Island senator and governor said. “And we have repair work to be done. I think we need someone who has the best in ethical standards as our next president.’’
“Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?’’ Cooper asked.
Without missing a beat, she deadpanned.