Hillary Clinton is not doing so great in New Hampshire—the former Secretary of State is currently 14 points behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and her second place position has not budged since November.
New Hampshire isn’t necessarily a vital state for Hillary, but she can’t be too happy with where she stands, which is perhaps why Bill Clinton attended a campaign event on Sunday and went for a full-fledged attack on Sanders.
The race between the two Democratic candidates has been friendly and positive thus far; Sanders has avoided any negative attacks on Hillary, and she has largely reciprocated, although she began to go on the offensive during Thursday’s Democratic debate.
Bill Clinton took the seeds she planted during the debate a step further as he spoke at a junior high school in New Hampshire.
As the New York Times reports, he mocked Sanders’s criticism of the “establishment,” snarking that according to Sanders, “Anybody that doesn’t agree with me is a tool of the establishment.”
He derided another tenet of Sanders’s campaign, jeering that “When you’re making a ‘revolution’ you can’t be too careful with the facts.”
But the meat of his attack lay in the purported sexism he noted in Sanders supporters. He recounted an incident with a female blogger who had to remain anonymous in her defense of Hillary Clinton due to the "vitriol” from Sanders fans: “She and other people who have gone online to defend Hillary, to explain why they supported her, have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat.”
This criticism isn’t entirely unwarranted. Sanders has faced public backlash for the same reason—some of his supporters, ridiculed as “Bernie Bros,” often attack Hillary and her supporters in incredibly sexist ways.
Sanders himself has condemned these individuals, telling CNN that, “I have heard about it. It's disgusting. Look, we don't want that crap…anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things—we don't want them. I don't want them. That is not what this campaign is about.”
So Sanders has explicitly stated that the Bernie Bros do not represent himself or his campaign, yet Clinton continued to imply that Sanders was complicit in the sexism seen in some of his supporters.
Bill Clinton is one to bring up sexism—he has been accused of multiple instances of sexual assault and one instance of rape. He and Hillary have also been involved in smear campaigns intended to discredit women who came forward with assault accusations.
Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Sanders, stated it was “disappointing that President Clinton has decided to launch these attacks,” and said Sanders will continue to run a positive campaign focused on the issues.