Hillary Clinton supporter Howard Dean called labor unions “super PACs that Democrats like” during an interview Friday where he angrily defended Clinton from what he called a “double standard” about big money in politics.
The question of Wall Street’s hold over Clinton, given the high-cost speeches she has given to the financial industry, has been a divisive issue in the campaign, and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell brought it up during their interview in New Hampshire.
“Was it a mistake politically to show herself to be so closely tied financially to the Wall Street interests?” Mitchell asked.
Dean became indignant, as Clinton has, at the suggestion that she has been influenced by the huge speaking fees she received from such institutions as Goldman Sachs. He claimed a double standard, citing the support her rival Bernie Sanders has gotten from labor unions.
“Why does Hillary Clinton have to put up with a double standard?” Dean said. “I don’t hear anybody asking Bernie Sanders for his transcripts for some speech he made with a labor union. Frankly, for Bernie to say he doesn’t have a super PAC, labor unions are super PACs. Now, they’re super PACs that Democrats like, so we don’t go after labor unions, but this is a double standard.”
He also brought up the suspicious death of Vince Foster, a deputy White House counsel who committed suicide in 1993, as an example of a Clinton scandal that didn’t hold water.
“I am tired of the attacks on Hillary Clinton’s integrity,” he said. “I think they’re unwarranted, and there has not been a single time for the last 25 years where the right wing has gone after it, and the media has dutifully followed up the inquiry, where they have found one thing. Not Whitewater. Not Vince Foster’s suicide. None of this stuff. Why are we talking about this? Why are we not talking about the issues and what kind of a president Hillary Clinton is going to be.”
“Well, we’re talking about it because Bernie Sanders has made it a campaign issue, and he is her only opponent,” Mitchell said. “So it’s an issue in this campaign, and it was an issue that she responded to, and most people think very effectively, in the debate.”
Dean snapped that it’s a “mistake” for Sanders to attack Clinton’s integrity.
Dean also got testy in a Morning Joe interview this week, suggesting that criticism of Clinton’s communications problems was fueled by her gender.