- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In a blistering takedown of her 2016 Democratic presidential primary rival, Hillary Clinton in her new book claims that Sen. Bernard Sanders did “lasting damage” to her campaign and paved the way for President Trump’s eventual victory in the general election.

Excerpts from Mrs. Clinton’s book, “What Happened,” were posted Tuesday by pro-Clinton social media users. In those excerpts, the former secretary of state says she wanted to fight back against Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent who joined the Democratic Party to seek the presidency and, in the process, energized progressives and gave Mrs. Clinton a much tougher fight than virtually anyone anticipated.

But Mrs. Clinton says her campaign leadership, and then-President Obama, urged her to lay off Mr. Sanders and avoid criticizing him directly.

“Throughout the primaries, every time I wanted to hit back against Bernie’s attacks, I was told to restrain myself,” Mrs. Clinton wrote. “My team kept reminding me that we didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters. President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.”

While she says she refrained from a full-on assault against Mr. Sanders, she suggests in the book that the senator didn’t return the courtesy. His attacks, she contends, may have doomed her fall campaign against Mr. Trump.

“His attacks caused lasting damage,” she said, “making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary‘ campaign.”

Mrs. Clinton also questions Mr. Sanders‘ loyalty to the Democratic Party, saying she can’t say whether the senator cared if his campaign attacks hurt Democrats’ chances of defeating Mr. Trump.

“I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not. He certainly shared my horror at the thought of Donald Trump becoming president, and I appreciated that he campaigned for me in the general election. But he isn’t a Democrat — that’s not a smear, that’s what he says,” Mrs. Clinton writes. “He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”

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