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.


  1. This post suggests that (a) Sanders changed his mind, and that he (b) volunteered the statement. I can’t get the transcript, since I am not a WSJ subscriber, but Mediaite says that the question to him was not asking about any supposed change of mind. It was (a) “whether he was dismissing the controversy ALTOGETHER,” and (b) whether the investigation should be stopped. And then, WSJ editorialized his response to mean something completely different from what he actually said.

    I think what Sanders said in the debate, and is saying now, is that we’re sick and tired of hearing about “the emails” without there being any “news.” If the investigation were to actually turn up something, he says that should be looked at–but shut up until there’s something legitimate to talk about.

    On the other hand, it’s possible that Democrats are bringing this up so they have something to talk about. With Webb gone, they have nothing to “debate.” And the ratings for the show will be about the same as “My Mother the Car” reruns.

    • The car turns out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother. Sanders’ decision to change his mind and take a new path is the reincarnation of a Democratic primary battle.

      Here, use this link to get to the WSJ story, it gets around the paywall by originating from the Google UK search:,d.cGc

      I get what you’re saying. But the impression given to everyone watching the debate was that he thought it was a non-issue and leave it alone. He yelled it at everyone and waved his arms. Now he thinks it’s an issue worth exploring.

      • Thanks. The story is fluff. Almost no quotes and all interpretation. Just as you’re interpreting, instead of hearing what he said:

        Let’s remember what Sanders actually DID say, and that is, “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”

        Even the latest WSJ poll agreed by 48-42 that the emails are “not an important issue.”

        Sanders was really talking about the media:

        “Anderson, let me say something about the media, as well. . . The American people want to know whether we’re
        going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens [United] . Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing

        I have repeatedly said that the media are lazy and inept. This is just another example.

        WSJ is trying to make it sound as if Sanders is flip-flopping, BUT when they get close to a real quote, it’s clear that Sanders says there’s nothing worth reporting about it yet. They paraphrase him as saying, ” *IF* her email practices foiled public records requests or compromised classified information, those are ‘real questions.'”

        Sanders’ view is that the questions should be asked, just in case. But not reported until there’s something of substance. I don’t see that he changed his mind at all.

        Likewise, O’Malley, at the debate, said the same basic thing: “we don’t have to be defined by the email scandal, and how long – what
        the FBI’s asking about. Instead, we can talk about affordable college,
        making college debt free, and all the issues. Which is why – and I see
        the chair of the DNC here, look how glad we are actually to be talking
        about the issues that matter the most to people around the kitchen

        • You may be correct substantively, but the damage is done. As Sanders said, you get your 12 seconds and that’s it. What people heard is what people heard.

          They heard someone screaming “sick and tired of hearing about these damn emails.”

          Now the same person is saying “let’s hear some more about those damn emails,”

          • Nate: Exactly. Just as WSJ’s own poll shows, there has been an eight percent jump of people who say they are “sick and tired of hearing about these damn emails.” He was stating public opinion, no more.

            Sanders was upset about silly reporting about nothing. The “email story” is just like CNN’s silly “reporting” about the lost AirAsia plane last year. They had no news, no legitimate information, but they kept “reporting” on it 24/7, and today, we do not know any more than the minute the plane was lost.

            I think Sanders would also have said “ENOUGH” about that media idiocy, BUT I’m sure he would have said “investigation” about the missing plane should continue.

            I looked at the link Sergeant provided below. If you watch it, you’ll see that in no way did Sanders say he thought there was anything wrong with the emails. 90% of his comment was, again, to say the reporting is a waste of time–that should be spent on substantive matters. No change at all.

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