LAS VEGAS — Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders found something they could both agree on at the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday evening. Both rivals said there has been far too much attention paid to the scandal surrounding Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state and not enough focus on real “issues.”
An exasperated Sanders actually took things a step further than Clinton and declared that people are “sick and tired” of hearing about the “damn emails.”
“Enough of the emails!” he said.
Sanders’ comments led the pair to share a handshake and a laugh.
The exchange came after debate moderator Anderson Cooper asked Clinton about her email use. Earlier this year, the New York Times revealed Clinton had conducted official State Department business on a personal address. While Clinton and her campaign have argued that she did nothing against the rules, some critics have argued that her email practices could have posed a security risk and potentially violated federal regulations. The emergence of the email scandal coincided with Sanders climbing in the polls and putting a dent in Clinton’s solid frontrunner status.
As she has in the past, Clinton acknowledged that using a private server was a “mistake” and suggested that it “wasn’t the best choice.” Clinton emphasized that she will answer questions about the emails when she testifies in front of the House Benghazi committee on Oct. 22. However, Clinton also reiterated her campaign’s contention that the investigation has become a “partisan” affair. Clinton repeatedly suggested she would rather be “talking about the issues that matter to the American people” than her emails.
Sanders chimed in to agree with Clinton on that point.
“Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders exclaimed.
Sanders’ comment drew a laugh and broad smile from Clinton.
“Thank you,” she said with a laugh. “Me too. Me too.”
Sanders continued by admonishing the press for focusing on the emails.
“Let me say something about the media as well,” he said. “I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. The middle class of this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the emails! Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”
Clinton turned to Sanders and shook his hand as both laughed.
“Thank you, Bernie,” she said.