A top strategist for Sen. Bernard Sanders’ presidential campaign said Monday that Mr. Sanders wasn’t being disrespectful at all during Sunday’s Democratic debate and that the Vermont senator was getting constantly interrupted by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t think he was disrespectful at all,” Sanders adviser Tad Devine said on CNN’s “New Day.” “I think she constantly interrupted him, I think she constantly distorted his record, and I think he felt a need to speak about that, and I think he did so in a respectful way.”
Mr. Sanders at one point said “Excuse me, I’m talking” to Mrs. Clinton as he was making a point about the automobile industry and Wall Street bailouts.
“You know, last night they were comparing Bernie to Rick Lazio in the debate that he had with her in the Senate,” Mr. Devine said. “I remember that — Lazio walked across the stage and practically mugged her, OK? So no, it was nothing like that.”
At a debate during the 2000 U.S. Senate campaign in New York, Mr. Lazio had approached Mrs. Clinton at her lectern at one point to try to get her to sign a campaign finance pledge.
Earlier on the program, Clinton campaign spokeswoman Karen Finney had said Mr. Sanders’ tone was “at times a little disrespectful.”
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“And there were times where it seemed it felt a little bit desperate — both the tone and sort of the nature of the attacks,” she said.