The first one-on-one Democratic debate featured the most heated exchanges of the primary race, culminating in Hillary Clinton accusing Bernie Sanders’ campaign of running an “artful smear’’ against her.
“Enough is enough,’’ said the former secretary of state. “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly.’’
Clinton refuted the argument that financial contributions from special interests had affected her positions on issues. Sanders had recently said Clinton’s campaign was “funded by Wall Street and big money interests.’’
“I think it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out in recent weeks, and let’s talk about the issues,’’ Clinton said to a mix of loud boos and applause.
“Ohhhh, come on,’’ Sanders interjected. “OK, let us talk about the issues.’’
The Vermont senator responded that there is a reason for campaign contributions and lobbying from financial, pharmaceutical, and fossil fuel industries, referring to Wall Street deregulation in the 1990s, increased drug prices, and Republicans’ denial of climate change.
“There is a reason that these people are putting huge amounts of money into our political system,’’ Sanders said. “And in my view it is undermining American democracy, and it is allowing Congress to represent wealthy campaign contributors and not the working families of this country.’’
Moderators play hands off in first one-on-one Democratic debate
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders go toe to toe in a debate before the 2016 New Hampshire Primary.