DURHAM, N.H. — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tore into Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, accusing him mischaracterizing her as a member of the establishment and calling on him to end his attacks against her connections to special interest groups.
"Honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment," Clinton said, before launching into a long-winded rant against the Vermont senator. "I've got to tell you that it is really quite amusing to me."
"People support me because they know me, they know my life's work [and] they have worked with me ... and at the end of the day, they endorse me because they know I can get things done," she said.
Clinton continued, hitting Sanders for putting forth proposals that would be difficult to pass as president.
"I am not going to make promises I can't keep [and] I am not going to talk about big ideas ... and then not level with people about how much [they] would cost," she said. "I'm not going to tell people that I will raise your incomes and not your taxes and not mean it, because I don't want to see the kind of struggle the middle class is going through exemplified by these promises that will raise taxes and make it much more difficult for many, many Americans to get ahead and stay ahead."
"That is not my agenda," Clinton added.
Sanders shot back, noting that the super PAC supporting Clinton's presidential bid "raised $15 million last quarter" and that Clinton herself has raised "a lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests" throughout her life.
"In my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed for the middle class and working families," he said.
Clinton, visibly irritated with her opponent, proceeded to condemn his most frequent line of attack against her.
"You know, Sen. Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign [and] I've tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be," she said. "But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth which really comes down to anybody that ever took donations or speaking fees from interest groups has to be bought."
"I just absolutely reject that, Senator," Clinton said. "I really don't think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you and enough is enough."
She continued, "If you have something to say, say it directly. But you will not find that I ever changed a vote because of any donation I received."
"I stood up and represented my constituents... and I am very proud of it," Clinton said. "And I think it's time to end this very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out in recent weeks and let's talk about the issues."