Just hours after ticking off a list of reasons why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn’t “qualified” to be president, Sen. Bernard Sanders said he’s not just going to lay down when the Clinton campaign attacks him.
“She has attacked me for being unqualified,” Mr. Sanders said Thursday at an event in Philadelphia. “And if I am going to be attacked for being unqualified, I will respond … so I would hope that [we’d] get away from this.”
Mr. Sanders cited a Washington Post headline that said “Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president” and a CNN story that said the Clinton campaign is trying to “disqualify him, defeat him, and unify the party later.”
Mr. Sanders said he does have respect for Mrs. Clinton and that he’s tried to run an issue-oriented campaign.
“But if Secretary Clinton thinks that just because I’m from a small state in Vermont, and … they’re going to beat us up and go after us in some kind of really uncalled-for way, that we’re not going to fight back … they can guess again,” Mr. Sanders said. “This campaign will fight back.
“So when you have headlines in The Washington Post, quote, Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president, my response is well, you know, if you want to question my qualifications, let me suggest this, that maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications, Madam Secretary, when you voted for the war in Iraq — the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of America,” he said.
He went on to say people might wonder about her qualifications given her support for trade deals Mr. Sanders has criticized, and when she’s spending time raising money for her super PAC from wealthy people and special interests.
“It is not the type of politics that I want to get in, but let me also be very clear: if Secretary Clinton thinks that I just come from the small state of Vermont, we’re not used to this — well, we’ll get used to it fast,” he said.
The Clinton campaign, meanwhile, says Mr. Sanders crossed the line with the “qualified” remark and that Mrs. Clinton never actually said Mr. Sanders isn’t qualified to be president.
Mr. Sanders had ticked off a similar list at a rally Wednesday evening in Philadelphia.
“She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am, quote unquote, not qualified to be president,” Mr. Sanders said Wednesday.
“Let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton: I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds,” he said. “I don’t think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.
“I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq,” he said. “I don’t think you are qualified if you have supported almost every disastrous trade agreement, which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs.”