No more Mr Nice Guy as Sanders launches tirade on Clinton

Hillary Clinton, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo / Jim Cole
Hillary Clinton, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo / Jim Cole

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who has complained about having "the kitchen sink" thrown at him, unloaded on Hillary Clinton in Chicago yesterday, ticking off a series of issues on which he said the former Secretary of State had taken the wrong position.

The Vermont senator, who also visited Flint, Michigan, yesterday, attacked Clinton for having accepted campaign contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street interests.

And then he sharply criticised her support, as first lady and as a New York senator, of welfare reform, free trade, an anti-gay rights bill and the Iraq War - all measures he opposed during his long career in Congress.

The broadside, before tomorrow's Democratic Primary in South Carolina, came amid a speech to a raucous crowd of more than 6500 people packed into a basketball arena at Chicago State University, part of a whirlwind tour in recent days of states with primaries and caucuses next month.

Though none of the critiques levelled by Sanders were new, his remarks were striking for both their length - until recently he often didn't mention Clinton at all at his rallies - and his tone.

At a few points, the audience booed Clinton and the stances she's taken.

"I do not receive many millions of dollars from Wall Street or the pharmaceutical industry or other powerful, wealthy interests in this country, and have not given speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars to Wall Street," Sanders said, referring to money Clinton received between stepping down as Secretary of State and launching her presidential bid.

In the wake of his loss to Clinton in the Nevada caucuses, Sanders vowed he would be more aggressive in detailing the policy differences between the two, a posture he said did not violate his long-standing practice of running positive, issue-oriented campaigns.

Several of the differences Sanders cited were over legislation that advanced during the years that Bill Clinton was in the White House.

Clinton, meanwhile, yesterday expressed regret for 20-year-old comments about young, black "super-predators".

Clinton campaigned before largely African-American audiences across South Carolina.

Black voters, and her family's long association with them, are the linchpin of Clinton's strategy for winning the first Southern primary tomorrow. The winner will have a strong claim to momentum going into the next round of voting in Southern and Midwestern states with sizeable African-American populations - starting on Super Tuesday (Wednesday (NZT).

"My life's work has been about lifting up children and young people who've been let down by the system or by society, kids who never got the chance they deserved," Clinton told Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart.

Clinton was confronted with her own 1996 comments about gang crime during a videotaped encounter with a young African-American activist on Thursday, and the tense exchange hung over the Democratic contest yesterday, although Clinton did not address it during her public events.

Ashley Williams, a 23-year-old activist from Charlotte, interrupted Clinton during a private fundraiser in Charleston, South Carolina.

Williams stood and demanded an apology from Clinton for the high incarceration rate for black Americans, and told the Democratic candidate: "I am not a super-predator, Hillary Clinton."

In a written response yesterday to Capehart on the issue, Clinton said, "Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today."

She also told NBC host Chuck Todd that her remarks had been "a poor choice of words".


- Washington Post

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