War of Words Escalates Between Clinton, Sanders

Leah Barkoukis
|
Posted: Apr 07, 2016 8:30 AM
War of Words Escalates Between Clinton, Sanders

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have upped their verbal attacks against each other, with the Vermont senator now saying Clinton “isn’t qualified” for the presidency.

The latest criticism comes after Clinton suggested Sanders may not ready for the White House, pointing to flaws in his foreign and domestic policy proposals—like breaking up the big banks, for example—that clearly showed “he hadn’t done his homework,” she said. 

People ought to know what she would do if she’s elected president, Clinton said earlier this week in Philadelphia, “not just lots of arm-waving and hot rhetoric.”

But an increasingly confident Sanders, who’s won seven of the last eight Democratic contests, shot back on Wednesday night.

"She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am quote-unquote not qualified to be president," Sanders said at Temple University in Philadelphia. "I don't believe that she is qualified if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds."

"I don't think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC," he continued. "I don't think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don't think you are qualified if you have supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs."

Clinton never technically said Sanders isn't qualified, however, as her campaign spokesman Brion Fallon pointed out, only that he 'hadn't done his homework' with respect to the policy positions he was advancing. 

"Hillary Clinton did not say Bernie Sanders was `not qualified.' But he has now -- absurdly -- said it about her. This is a new low," Fallon said on Twitter.

But the war of words this week didn’t stop there.

This week Clinton also reportedly placed the blame for New York’s gun violence on Vermont, and criticized Sanders for saying victims of gun crime shouldn’t be able to sue the manufacturer.

"That he would place gun manufacturers' rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me," Clinton said on MSNBC Wednesday morning.

In the interview with the Daily News editorial board, Sanders said he did not think gun crime victims should be able to sue gun manufacturers. But he did say people should be able to sue dealers and manufacturers who sell when they know "guns are going to the hands of wrong people." He also said he supported a ban on assault weapons.

Clinton's campaign — which seized on a number of statements in the interview — organized a phone call for reporters with elected officials and gun control advocates, including Jillian Soto, whose sister was a teacher killed at Sandy Hook, called Sanders' comments "offensive."

"He doesn't know the pain my family has been going through since December 14, 2012," she said.

Sanders also didn’t let this one go, telling CBS News on Wednesday that “Maybe Secretary Clinton might want to apologize to the families who lost their loved ones in Iraq,” referencing, of course, her vote for the war there. 

As the Democratic race heats up, the verbal barbs will likely continue from both candidates.