Clinton book says Bernie Sanders inflicted 'lasting damage' on her campaign

Hillary Clinton believes the “attacks” Bernie Sanders leveled at her during the 2016 Democratic primary “caused lasting damage,” made it harder to “unify progressives” and paved the way for Donald Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” refrain during the general election.

“I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not,” Clinton writes in her upcoming campaign memoir, “What Happened,” according to excerpts from advance copies shared online. “He certainly shared my horror at the thought of Donald Trump becoming President, and I appreciated that he campaigned for me in the general election. But he isn’t a Democrat.”

Clinton adds “that’s not a smear” — it’s what the independent senator from Vermont himself says. Sanders lost his bid for the Democratic nomination and endorsed Clinton two weeks before the Democratic National Convention.

“He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House,” Clinton continues. “He got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”

And while Sanders “was right Democrats needed to strengthen [their] focus on working families” and engage younger voters, “he was fundamentally wrong about the Democratic Party,” Clinton argues, ticking off a list of Democrat-led accomplishments including Social Security, Mideast peace, the auto industry bailout and health care reform.

“I am proud to be a Democrat,” Clinton adds. “And I wish Bernie were, too.”

According to another section of Clinton’s book, also shared online, she compared Sanders’s policy proposals to a scene from the 1998 comedy “There’s Something About Mary”:

A deranged hitchhiker says he’s come up with a brilliant plan. Instead of the famous “eight-minute abs” exercise routine, he’s going to market “seven-minute abs.” It’s the same, just quicker. Then the driver, played by Ben Stiller, says, “Well, why not six-minute abs?”

That’s what it was like in policy debates with Bernie. We would propose a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger. On issue after issue, it was like he kept proposing four-minute abs, or even no-minute abs. Magic abs!

A spokesman for Sanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment. “What Happened” will be published on Sept. 12.

Last month, in an excerpt from the audio version of the book aired on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Clinton recalls Trump stalking her onstage during the second presidential debate on Oct. 9, 2016 — two days after the release of the bombshell 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape.

“‘This is not OK,’ I thought,” Clinton said. “It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable.”

She continued: “He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep! Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up!’”

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