Bernie Sanders says he is making Hillary Clinton “nervous.” While that may or may not be true, his popularity with younger voters is clearly annoying her.
“There is a persistent, organized effort to misrepresent my record, and I don’t appreciate that,” Clinton told Politico in a podcast interview published Wednesday. “And I feel sorry for a lot of the young people who are fed this list of misrepresentations.”
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Clinton was asked why she hasn’t been able to attract the kind of voters that pack the Vermont senator’s rallies.
“Look, I think it’s exciting to be, in effect, protesting,” Clinton said. “I did that a long time ago when I was in my 20s, and I totally get the attraction of this.”
Sanders’ attacks on former President Bill Clinton are also irking the Democratic frontrunner.
“I know that Sen. Sanders spends a lot of time attacking my husband, attacking President Obama,” she told Politico. “I rarely hear him say anything negative about George W. Bush, who I think wrecked our economy.”
What’s more, Clinton says she isn’t sure Sanders is a real Democrat.
“I can’t answer that,” Clinton said. “He’s a relatively new Democrat, and, in fact, I’m not even sure he is one. He’s running as one. So I don’t know quite how to characterize him. I’ll leave that to him.”
Things are getting testy in the race for the Democratic nomination. (Photos: Reuters/AP)
The independent senator and self-described democratic socialist beat the former secretary of state in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary — his sixth victory in the last seven states. But while Sanders may have momentum, Clinton retains a lead in both pledged and unpledged delegates in the race for the Democratic nomination.
On Tuesday, Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper what his message would be to the Clinton campaign.
“Don’t destroy the Democratic party to satisfy the secretary’s ambitions to become president of the United States,” Weaver said. “You want to have a party at the end of this we can unify.”
“I have been campaigning for Democrats, fundraising for Democrats, recruiting Democrats to run and win for a really long time — I think about 40 years. Senator Sanders, by his own admission, has never even been a Democrat.”
Hillary Clinton says the Bernie Sanders campaign manager’s comments about her presidential ambitions are “ludicrous” https://t.co/Pb953ixion— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics)April 6, 2016
So why can’t she seem to shake him?
Part of the problem, Clinton believes, is that while she’s a better candidate than the one who lost to Obama in 2008, she’s not “a natural politician.”
“I hope I’m a better candidate. I feel like I am. I mean … I’m not a natural politician,” Clinton told Politico. “I’m not somebody who, like my husband or Barack Obama, [where it’s] just — it’s music, right? I am someone who loves doing the job that I have. I would love having the job of president because I know how to do it. I know what the country needs. But the campaigning part is hard for me.”
Looking ahead to a possible general election matchup with Donald Trump, Clinton — who attended Trump’s 2005 wedding — says she doesn’t know him that well, a point that came into focus during the launch of his presidential campaign.
“He was always somebody who, oh, liked attention, liked to express his opinion,” Clinton said. “But I was shocked when he came out the very first day and called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. That just shocked me. I was thinking to myself, ‘Where did that come from?’”
“I believe that what he is saying now is very destructive,” she continued. “It’s not only offensive, it’s dangerous. I believe it has repercussions for our relations with other countries, how we are viewed, because I learned, in depth, what I had suspected when I was secretary of state. The way that other nations, both people and leaders, follow our presidential election is intense. And so we think of a throw-away comment; they think it’s a change in direction.”
Clinton added: “I think it’s fair to say there is a demagogic path that Europeans, South Americans, Asians have pursued, and we know where that leads. It uses xenophobia, it uses paranoia, it uses prejudice, it uses nationalism to really stir people up and to, you know, begin an us-versus-them contrast, which is dangerous and is not something we’ve had in our politics at a presidential level.”
What about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who predicted he would be the Republican nominee after winning Wednesday’s Wisconsin GOP primary?
“I think he is a very, you know, mean-spirited guy,” Clinton said. “You can see it from how the Republican Party responds to him.”