NEW YORK — After a week in which the two Democratic presidential candidates questioned each other’s preparations and qualifications, Bernie Sanders on Sunday took aim at Hillary Clinton’s judgment, saying “something is clearly lacking.”
During talk show appearances, the senator from Vermont continued to zero in on Clinton’s acceptance of special-interest money, her support for the Iraq War and her past backing of international trade agreements.
“In many respects, she may have the experience to be president of the United States,” Sanders said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “No one can argue that. But in terms of her judgement, something is clearly lacking.”
He made a similar argument during a segment of CNN’s “State of the Union” that was broadcast Sunday, saying: “I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make.”
During a separate segment on the same program, Clinton declined to criticize Sanders when asked by host Jake Tapper whether she has doubts about him.
“No, I don’t," the former secretary of state said. "I don’t have anything negative to say about him.”
Sanders's jabs comes in the aftermath of a campaign speech last week in Philadelphia in which Sanders ticked off ways in which he said Clinton is not “qualified” to be president. Sanders said he was responding to Clinton's attacks on him and making the point that he wasn’t going to be a “doormat” in the race for the Democratic nomination as both candidates prepare for a crucial April 19 primary.
On Friday morning, he seemed to back down. Asked on NBC’s “Today” show whether he believes Clinton is qualified to be president, Sanders said, “Of course.”
The CNN segment that aired Sunday was taped late Friday afternoon in Brooklyn. Sanders continued to point to the same alleged shortcomings of Clinton — as well as some others — as he did in Philadelphia and again on Sunday on NBC.
“When you vote for virtually every trade agreement that has cost the workers of this country millions of jobs, when you support and continue to support fracking, despite the crisis that we have in terms of clean water, and, essentially, when you have a super PAC that is raising tens of millions of dollars from every special interest out there, including 15 million from Wall Street, the American people do not believe that that is the kind of president that we need to make the changes in America to protect the working families of this country,” Sanders told host Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”
During a later appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation," host John Dickerson also pressed Sanders on his views about Clinton's judgment.
“Maybe her judgment is not quite as high as it should be," Sanders said. "But, John, I want to get away from this stuff. I respect Hillary Clinton. I’ve known her for 25 years. What I want a debate on is the real issues impacting the middle class of this country.”
“But do you think her judgment is irrevocably broken in a way that makes her incapable of doing the job of being president?" Dickerson asked.
“No. Look, she has enormous experience," Sanders said. "Everybody who knows her knows that she is very intelligent.”
Sanders then went on to criticize Clinton's judgment in voting in favor of the Iraq War while a senator representing New York in 2002. The war, Sanders said, was "the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of America.”