Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed sharply Thursday over who is more progressive, at a debate that saw the former secretary of state ratcheting up her criticism of the Vermont senator on several fronts.
Clinton slammed Sanders’ campaign promises as too costly and accused him of engineering an “artful smear” against her with suggestions that she could be “bought” by donors. Sanders, meanwhile, dug in as he questioned her progressive credentials and described her as the candidate of the “establishment.”
Clinton, though, questioned whether the candidate running to be the first female president can be part of the establishment, describing herself as a progressive who can “get things done.”
The fireworks underscored the tight state of the race, after Clinton narrowly won the Iowa caucuses on Monday.
The toughest moment came as Clinton told Sanders she rejects the suggestion that anyone who takes donations or speaking fees from interest groups can be bought.
“Enough is enough,” Clinton said, telling Sanders the “attacks by insinuation” are not “worthy” of him.
Clinton said if Sanders has something to allege, “say it directly,” but: “You will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received.”
She closed: “I think it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out in recent weeks.”
That line earned a groan from Sanders and some boos from the audience.
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