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Wall Street divides Clinton, Sanders at Democratic town hall

By Shawn Price   |   Feb. 4, 2016 at 3:05 AM
| License Photo

DERRY, N.H., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Wall Street money became the defining issue in a Democratic town hall debate in New Hampshire.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., tried to define former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as not being a true progressive because she received Wall Street money and Clinton, when asked, stumbled on the topic.

"Well, I don't know. That's what they offered," she said when CNN anchor Anderson Cooper asked her about being paid $675,000 by Goldman Sachs for three speeches. "Every secretary of state that I know has done that."

Clinton said she wasn't running for president when she gave the speeches and quickly countered by saying Wall Street donations to her campaign have dropped off since she announced her plan to reform the banking industry.

It was hardly fireworks, but it was perhaps the most notable moment in the evening, as Sanders tried to pound Clinton as not true to her party on her Iraq War vote, climate change and campaign finance, but she responded by saying she was "amused" that Sanders thinks he is the "the gatekeeper on who's progressive."

"I'm not going to let that bother me," she said. "I know where I stand."

It was the first time in the campaign Clinton has stumbled during a debate, often forced to be on defense, with less than a week before voters head to the polls in New Hampshire.

But Sanders might have made his own stumble taking such a hard line on defining progressivism when he wasn't able to answer Cooper's question about whether President Barack Obama -- who remains popular with Democratic primary voters -- had failed the progressive cause.

He also incurred the Twitter wrath of Donald Trump telling the audience "I want Trump to win the Republican nomination and I would love the opportunity to run against him," he said. "I think we would win by a lot."

Trump quickly tweeted: "Sanders says he wants to run against me because he doesn't want to run against me. He would be so easy to beat!"

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