Bernie Sanders Said Hillary Clinton Is Not A Real Progressive. Here’s How She Responded.

CREDIT: AP Photo/David Goldman

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, listens as Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton answers a question during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H.

For the last two days, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has been throwing some serious shade at Hillary Clinton. On Twitter, the Vermont Senator launched a series of tweets implicitly attacking Clinton’s commitment to progressivism, saying that “most progressives” don’t take campaign donations from Wall Street, weren’t undecided on the Keystone XL pipeline, and did not vote for the Iraq War.

At Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate, MSNBC moderator Rachel Maddow asked Clinton to respond to Sanders’ charges. And Clinton was prepared. In her 90-second response, Clinton made three main arguments: That she is better-equipped to work with Republicans to “get things done”; that Sanders’ strict definition of progressivism would likely exclude strong progressives like president Barack Obama; and that Sanders himself has voted for policies that could be considered less-than-completely-progressive.


Here’s the text of her full response:

I am a progressive who gets things done. The root of that word, progressive, is progress.

I’ve heard Senator Sanders’ comments, and it’s really caused me to wonder — Who’s left in the progressive wing of the Democratic party? Under his definition, president Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street. Vice President Biden is not progressive because he supported Keystone. Senator Shaheen is not progressive because she supports the trade pact. Even the late, great Senator Paul Wellstone would not fit this definition because he voted for [The Defense of Marriage Act].

You know, we have differences, and, honestly, I think we should be talking about what we want to do for the country. But if we’re going to get into labels, I don’t think it was particularly progressive to vote against the Brady Bill five times. I don’t think it was progressive to give gun makers and sellers immunity. I don’t think it was progressive to vote against Ted Kennedy’s immigration reform.

So, we can go back and forth like this, but the fact is that most people watching tonight want to know what we’ve done and what we will do.

The Sanders and Clinton campaigns have been trading barbs on the issue of progressivism since Sanders’ initial Twitter tirade Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after that tirade, the Clinton campaign hit back with a graphic slamming Sanders for votes against issues like gun control and immigration.

Predictably, the Sanders campaign did not taking that lying down. On Wednesday, it issued its own, similar-looking graphic attacking Clinton for supporting the Wall Street bailout; the North American Free Trade Agreement; and the Defense of Marriage Act, among other things.

After Clinton defended her progressivism on the debate stage on Thursday, Sanders didn’t issue much of a direct response — He instead went into his own policy proposals, which he defended as being in-line with mainstream progressivism.

His campaign-managed Twitter account, however, was a different story.