Clinton defends progressive record against Sanders critique

Hillary Clinton/ Facebook/ MGN

DERRY, N.H. (AP) – Hillary Clinton is striking back Wednesday at accusations by her Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders that she is only a progressive “some days.”

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, the former secretary of state called the statement a “low blow,” before listing a series of liberal accomplishments that she described as progressive, including her work on expanding access to children’s health insurance, advocating for women and gay people and pushing for gun control measures.

“We’ve been fighting the progressive fight and getting results for people for years,” Clinton said. “I hope we keep it on the issues. Because if it’s about our records, hey, I’m going to win by a landslide.”

Asked if Clinton was a “progressive,” Sanders told reporters in Keene on Tuesday that she is: “some days, yes. Except when she announces that she is a proud moderate. Then I guess she is not a progressive.”

The Vermont senator added that it was hard to take on the establishment “when you become as dependent as she has through her super PAC and in other ways on Wall Street or drug company money.”

Clinton’s team clearly sees an opening in Sanders’ comment. On Twitter, Clinton’s top spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri compared it to the moment in 2008 when President Barack Obama said during a debate that Clinton was “likable enough,” which prompted criticism from Clinton supporters.

But Sanders appeared intent on raising the issue. He took to Twitter to respond, asking his followers, “You can be a moderate. You can be a progressive. But you cannot be a moderate and a progressive.”

The back-and-forth from afar was the latest example of tensions between Clinton and Sanders as the race nears the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary.

Clinton has questioned Sanders’ commitment to gun control and whether his proposal to create a universal health care system might endanger Obama’s signature health care law. Sanders, meanwhile, casts Clinton as an establishment figure and an inconsistent champion of liberal causes such as the environment, trade and campaign finance reform.

The Democratic rivals are expected to appear at a debate on Thursday night and both camps have quarreled over the timing and locations of three debates planned for later this spring.

Sanders’ razor-thin loss in the Iowa caucuses Monday, and his formidable lead in New Hampshire polls, has heightened the possibility that the two remaining Democrats will be involved in a protracted fight for the nomination.

“We are in this until the convention. We are going to win some states, we are going to lose some states,” Sanders told reporters on Tuesday. He said the narrow Iowa outcome showed his campaign’s ability to take on Clinton’s vast political network and address doubts among voters about his electability.

Clinton stressed her commitment to campaigning in New Hampshire, while acknowledging that Sanders is leading the polls.

Noting that political pundits have questioned whether New Hampshire is a good use of her time, Clinton said: “I could not ever skip New Hampshire. I cannot even imagine not being here, not being at settings like this.”

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