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Hillary unleashes Bill Clinton in stinging attack on rival Sanders

world Updated: Feb 09, 2016 01:09 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Former US president Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, during a campaign event at Milford Junior High School in Milford, New Hampshire.(AFP Photo)

Former US president Bill Clinton has launched a blistering attack on Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in a bid to help wife Hillary bridge the gap in polls in New Hampshire, which primaries on Tuesday.

In a speech on Sunday, the Bill accused Sanders of being choosey with facts, making false promises, and being less than honest about his own campaign funds.

“When you’re making a revolution, you can’t be too careful with the facts,” he said about Sanders without naming him, according to multiple reports about the speech.

He went on to accuse some Sanders supporters — called ‘Bernie Bros’ — for attacking Clinton supporters online for backing her only because she was a woman, “sexists”.

Sanders has denounced those supporters.

The US senator from the neighbouring state of Vermont has maintained a commanding lead over Clinton in New Hampshire with 53.3% to 40.5%, staying obstinately out of her reach.

But the Clintons believe they can change that, given their history with the state. Bill Clinton came to be called the “comeback kid” in 1992 for coming second in New Hampshire.

And a win in New Hampshire in 2008 helped Hillary Clinton regain composure and hope after suffering a crippling defeat at the hands of a first-time senator, Barack Obama, in Iowa.

But the state has not responded as well to her this time — worse, she is trailing Sanders even among younger women there, according to a new poll. Can her husband help?

The Clinton campaign has deployed the former president carefully this time, mindful of the controversies that he kicked up in 2008. In Iowa, he was used to soften up his wife’s image.

In New Hampshire, Politico news-site said, “the Big Dog (as the former president is called, in a good way, in recognition of his larger-than-life persona) turned into an attack dog”.

Without naming Sanders once again, the former president attacked his promises — especially the single-payer health plan that the senator has proposed to replace Obamacare.

Sanders is proposing a Canada-like health insurance system in which only a single entity pays the insurers, the government in this instance, and not several as in the US and India.

The government pays out of its income tax collections.

Clinton said: “It is good for America? I don’t think so. Is it good for New Hampshire? I don’t think so. The New Hampshire I knew would not have voted for me if I had done that.”

He also questioned Sanders’ attack on Clinton accusing her of accepting donations and money from big donors, saying the senator had himself turned up ad lobbyist-filled fund-raisers.

“I practically fell out of my chair when I saw it,” he said, according to The New York Times.