After the third Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton faced a flood of criticism for linking her financial support from Wall Street to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — even though she had accepted campaign donations from the financial industry before the attacks. In Sunday night’s debate, she tried out a new line of defense: The president has taken their money too.
When Bernie Sanders was asked about his campaign’s recent television ad highlighting politicians’ contributions from Wall Street, the independent Vermont senator said: “I don’t take money from big banks — I don’t get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.” Sanders’ campaign quickly sent out a fact sheet to reporters pointing out that Wall Street firms have paid Clinton almost $3 million in speaking fees.
The former secretary of state plugged her plans for financial reform before seeking to cast Sanders’ criticism as an attack on President Barack Obama. Clinton praised the president’s efforts to pass the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill and improve the economy, and told the audience that Sanders’ words “don’t just affect me.” Clinton said Sanders had “criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street, and President Obama led our country out of the Great Recession.” Clinton took another slap at Sanders’ lack of loyalty to the Democratic president, saying he had once said it would be “good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.”
After asserting he’s friendly with Obama, Sanders asked: “Can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions and millions of dollars on campaign contributions and when they are providing speaker fees to individuals?”