Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has clarified his verbal attack on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While he previously said his rival was unqualified for the presidency, Sanders has clarified that it is Clinton's judgment that worries him.
On April 7, Sanders told supporters at a Pennsylvania rally that Clinton had questioned his qualifications for president, CNN reports.
While the former secretary of state had not explicitly accused Sanders of being unsuitable for office, the senator proceeded to list off Clinton's alleged disqualifying qualities.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon took to social media to accuse Sanders of using smear tactics.
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“Hillary Clinton did not say Bernie Sanders was ‘not qualified,’” Fallon tweeted. “But he has now - absurdly - said it about her. This is a new low.”
Clinton laughed off the accusations that she was unqualified, telling reporters that she would gladly support Sanders over the Republican candidates while adding that his attack was “kind of a silly thing to say.”
On April 10, Sanders appeared on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” to discuss the state of the Democratic primary. The senator clarified to host Chuck Todd that he was not questioning Clinton’s experience but her judgment.
Sanders cited the former secretary of state’s financial contributions from Wall Street and her support of the Iraq War while serving as a New York senator.
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“I think those issues will tell the American people that in many respects, she may have the experience to be president of the United States -- no one can argue that,” Sanders said. “But in terms of her judgment, something is clearly lacking.”
On April 11, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver appeared on MSNBC, clarifying that his team was not questioning Clinton’s qualifications “on paper,” Politico reports.
Admitting that Clinton had an impressive resume, Weaver stated that Clinton’s position on the issues had fluctuated over the years, making her an unreliable candidate to carry the Democratic banner.
“You don’t know where she is,” Weaver said. “I don’t know what her real position is. She’s clearly tacked all over the place.”
Clinton spokesman Fallon again fired back against the Sanders campaign, accusing them of merely swapping the word “unqualified” with “judgment.”
“[Sanders] encountered so much blowback last week that they're trying to change the terminology a bit, but it’s still the same false attack that I don’t think will ring true to Democratic voters,” Fallon said.