Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton faced off in their first direct debate tonight in Durham, New Hampshire and more sparks flew than have in any debate so far.
The first major exchange came when Sanders suggested, as he has done many times on the campaign trail so far, that Clinton has been influenced by campaign contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street. The moment came after sharp dialogue about what it means to be “progressive”.
Clinton then accused Sanders of engaging in an “artful smear” against her and said it’s time for it to end.
“Time and time again, by innuendo, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to, you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. And I just absolutely reject that, senator. And I really don’t think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you’ve got something to say, say it, directly. But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received. And I have stood up and I have represented my constituents to the best of my ability, and I’m very proud of that. So I think it’s time to end the artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out in recent weeks and let’s talk about the issues.”
And the candidates were just getting warmed up.