Sanders Calls Bill Clinton’s Past Misconduct ‘Deplorable’

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) expressed irritation when asked at Sunday's Democratic debate about his calling Bill Clinton's past sexual misconduct "disgraceful and unacceptable," saying it was "deplorable" behavior but that he had avoided running a campaign distracting from the issues.

NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell asked Sanders whether he regretted using those words for Bill Clinton's past conduct, as Sanders is running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Sanders said Mitchell's question "annoyed" him and that he only discussed Bill Clinton's past behavior because he was asked about it.

"You didn't have to answer it that way, though. Why did you?" Mitchell asked.

"I mean this seriously. You know that, we've been through this," Sanders said, nodding toward Clinton on the debate stage. "Yes, his behavior was deplorable. Have I ever once said a word about that issue? No, I have not. I'm going to debate Secretary Clinton and Governor O'Malley on the issues facing the American people, not Bill Clinton's personal behavior."

Hillary Clinton wore a small smile on her face as Sanders called her husband's misconduct "deplorable."

Full exchange:

ANDREA MITCHELL: You called Bill Clinton's past actions, quote, totally, totally, totally disgraceful and unacceptable. Senator, do you regret saying that?

BERNIE SANDERS: I was asked a question. You know, one of the things, Andrea–that question annoys me. I cannot walk down the street, Secretary Clinton knows this, without being told how much I have to attack Secretary Clinton. Want to get me on the front pages of the paper? I make some vicious attack. I have avoided doing that. Trying to run an issues-oriented campaign. I was asked a question.

MITCHELL: You didn't have to answer it that way, though. Why did you?

SANDERS: Then if I don't answer it, then it's another front page. So yes, and I mean this seriously. You know that, we've been through this. Yes, his behavior was deplorable. Have I ever once said a word about that issue? No, I have not. I'm going to debate Secretary Clinton and Governor O'Malley on the issues facing the American people, not Bill Clinton's personal behavior.

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