Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) reminded the audience at Thursday night’s Democratic debate that it was Hillary Clinton, not him, who ran against President Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.
“One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate,” Sanders said during his closing statement.
The Clinton campaign has worked to cast Sanders as an opponent of Obama’s legislative achievements in an effort to alienate him from the powerful coalition of voters that elected him twice to the presidency.
The campaign has gone so far as to say that Sanders would dismantle Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, if elected president. On Thursday, Clinton stated that Sanders had offered negative “personal assessments and charges” about the president.
Sanders pushed back hard against these allegations at the debate.
HILLARY CLINTON: Senator, what I am concerned about is not disagreement on issues saying this is what I’d rather do, I don’t agree with the president on that. Calling the president weak, calling him a disappointment, calling several times that he should have a primary opponent when he ran for reelection in 2012. You know, I think that goes further than saying we have our disagreements. As a senator, yes, I was a senator. I understand we can disagree on the path forward. But those kinds of personal assessments and charges are ones that I find particularly troubling.
GWEN IFILL: Senator, you may respond to that but it’s time for closing statements. You can use your time for closing statements to do that.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, one of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.