The rhetoric between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is starting to heat up with each candidate now mentioning the other by name with some direct criticism. Clearly Sanders is not ready to give Clinton a pass on her email issues as was suggested during and after the first Democratic debate. Likewise, Hillary Clinton has taken to addressing the way Sanders accused her of “shouting” about gun control at the first debate as a sexist statement against her.


Report from the Wall Street Journal:

Sen. Sanders of Vermont, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, also said the federal investigation of the security surrounding Mrs. Clinton’s private email account is appropriate.

In the Democratic debate last month, Mr. Sanders said voters were “sick and tired” of the focus on Mrs. Clinton’s “damn emails.” Afterward, many Democrats and political analysts said that he had appeared to dismiss her use of a private email account and server in her four years as secretary of state.

Mr. Sanders rejected that assessment on Wednesday. If her email practices foiled public-records requests or compromised classified information, those are “valid questions,” Mr. Sanders said.

Mr. Sanders’s pointed comments mark a turning point in what has been a polite Democratic contest. When he entered the race in the spring, Mr. Sanders barely mentioned Mrs. Clinton by name. When he did, it was merely to spell out plain-vanilla differences over policy.

The question will be whether Sanders takes a similar tone at the next Democratic debate coming up on November 14. Will he again avoid this line of criticism in public or will he actually try to explore the topic and force Hillary to address it more deeply in a debate environment? That will tell us how serious he is in trying to gain ground on this issue.

Another report on this topic from Slate:

On Oct. 23, Hillary Clinton opened a new front against Sen. Bernie Sanders: She framed him as a sexist. Clinton took a phrase Sanders had routinely used in talking about gun violence—that “shouting” wouldn’t solve the problem—and suggested that he had aimed it at her because “when women talk, some people think we’re shouting.”

Several journalists called out Clinton for this smear. But she refuses to withdraw it. Instead, her campaign officials and supporters have escalated the attack. And now, Clinton is adding a new dimension to the controversy: race.

Some feminists applauded Clinton’s initial zinger. “Hillary Baits Bernie Beautifully,” said a headline in Salon. Another article accused Sanders of “old-fashioned tone policing and dogwhistling about women’s shrillness.” On Oct. 27, Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, conceded that Sanders hadn’t singled out Clinton. But Schriock insisted that Sanders “was referring to a lot of folks who have been very adamant about [guns] and a lot of women who have been leading the fight on gun violence across the country. And I do think that is disrespectful.”

The next day, Clinton sat down for an interview in New Hampshire. Josh McElveen of WMUR asked her about Sanders: “Do you believe that he’s attacking you based solely on your gender?” Clinton replied: “When I heard him say that people should stop shouting about guns, I didn’t think I was shouting. I thought I was making a very strong case. … And I’m not going to be silenced.” McElveen followed up: “But as far as the implication that Bernie Sanders is sexist—you wouldn’t go that far?” Clinton shrugged, smiled, and sidestepped the question. “I said what I had to say about it,” she concluded.

In other words, Clinton is trying to imply that Sanders was indeed treating her unfairly due to her gender without overplaying her hand. I think the line of attack here is one of painting Sanders, despite his progressive credentials, as just another “old white guy” who has old-timey views about how to communicate and speak to women. In other words, Hillary is the fresher face for the party as opposed to crank from Vermont. She has to walk that line carefully and so far she appears to be doing it.

Again, the next debate will give us another idea of how things have progressed since the first debate.

Add Comment | Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe Via Email

Sign up for instant election alerts and the latest content delivered to your inbox: