US Elections: Sanders, Clinton Trade Barbs

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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are lobbing direct attacks at each other as the Democratic presidential race heats up.

Clinton accused the Sanders campaign of lying about her, and the Vermont senator says she deliberately took his comments about abortion out of context.

The two are trading barbs as Sanders, trailing the former secretary of State in the overall race, experiences a burst of momentum, with massive fundraising totals and favorable poll numbers in Wisconsin ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday.

Clinton squared with an environmental activist in a heated exchange Thursday. It culminated in her accusing the Sanders campaign of spreading falsehoods about campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

“I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me. I’m sick of it,” the visibly angry Clinton said, pointing a finger in the activist’s face, in a video posted by Greenpeace.

The Sanders campaign fired back Friday, calling for her to apologize.

“We didn’t say so-and-so is lying — I think the secretary did — and I think she probably owes the senator an apology for that because the senator is not lying about her record. He’s talking about her record; he’s talking about her practices,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Friday.

Weaver pointed to a Greenpeace report saying that Clinton had received more than $1 million from lobbyists connected to the fossil fuel industry and that donors connected to the industry gave another $3.2 million to pro-Clinton super-PAC Priorities Action USA.

“To call us liars for pointing out basic facts about the secretary’s fundraising is deeply cynical and very disappointing,” he added in a follow-up statement.

The two candidates also clashed in the wake of Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s controversial statements suggesting women should be punished for getting abortions if the procedure is outlawed.

Sanders quickly blasted Trump’s remarks as “shameful,” adding that they distracted from “a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America.”

Clinton slammed the Vermont senator for his response, accusing him of being dismissive of the abortion rights battle.

“To me, this is a serious issue. And it’s a very serious discussion,” she said in Purchase, N.Y.

“Look, I know Sen. Sanders supports a woman’s right to choose, but I also know Planned Parenthood America and NARAL endorsed me because I have led on this issue,” Clinton added, referencing prominent abortion rights organizations.

“I have fought on this issue. And I know, given what’s happening in states across our country, we need a president who is passionate about this.”

Sanders on Friday accused Clinton of taking his comments out of context, and he defended his record on abortion rights.

“I’ve been spending my entire political life fighting for the right of a woman to control her own body. I have a 100 percent pro-choice voting record,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“If elected president, not only will I continue to defend a woman’s right to choose, I will take on those Republican governors all over this country who trying to restrict or take away that right.”

Days earlier, a Clinton aide suggested that the front-runner would not agree to any more debates unless Sanders changed his “tone.”

Sanders has received good news this week in fundraising and polls. He reportedly broke his own record by raising $44 million in March. And a series of polls have shown him ahead of Clinton in Wisconsin.

He’s also predicting a win in New York, which holds the next major primary after Wisconsin’s.

Still, Clinton maintains a big lead in the delegate race. Among pledged delegates, she is beating Sanders 1,243 to 980, according to the Associated Press tally. When factoring in superdelegates, her total grows to 1,712 to Sanders’s 1,011.

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