Clinton writes that she believes Sanders made unrealistic campaign promises for the sake of one-upping her: “We would promise a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger.”
She also writes that Sanders resorted to “innuendo and impugning my character.” She says he believed he had to level character attacks “because we agreed on so much” so he “couldn’t make an argument against me” rooted in policy.
These claims may appear contradictory, given that Clinton on one hand is criticizing Sanders for an unrealistic policy vision and on the other disputing that there were significant differences in policy between the two candidates.
The excerpts have been released by a Twitter account in support of Clinton:
“President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.” – HRC pic.twitter.com/AAaKCq9DAR
— Hillary Warned Us (@HillaryWarnedUs) September 4, 2017
Sanders on Wednesday brushed off the criticism, saying he would prefer to focus on current political issues:
“My response is that right now it’s appropriate to look forward and not backward,” Sanders told The Hill.
“I’m working overtime now to see we overturn Trump’s decision on DACA, pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and next week I’ll be offering a Medicare-for-all single-payer system,” he said.
Sanders said he wants to focus on the legislative challenges at hand and not debate who is to blame for President Trump’s stunning electoral upset of Clinton, the Democratic nominee, in November.
“Our job is to go forward,” he said.
Clinton is right: Sanders’ attacks on her character fed the same narrative as Trump’s. They hurt her in the general election. And she’s right that running on the Democratic ticket when you’re not a Democrat isn’t just hypocritical, it can be incredibly damaging. For one thing, it gives a candidate a platform to trash the very party he says he wants to lead.
The release of the book marks Clinton’s first significant foray back into the public spotlight after she kept a low profile following the election. Along with criticizing Sanders, she admits mistakes of her own during the election season, writing: “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want—but I was the candidate.” She also writes that she is still “at a loss” for what makes her “a lightning rod for fury.”