In one of the weirdest moments from last night’s Democratic primary debate, Hillary Clinton invoked the attacks of 9/11 to justify the financial support she has received from Wall Street.
In an angry and defensive way, Hillary claimed that as a senator from New York, she worked with people on Wall Street to rebuild after the attacks. She also used the moment to play the gender card.
Even liberals are scratching their heads over this. Slate reported:
Hillary Says It’s OK That She Takes Wall Street Money Because of Women and 9/11
Bernie Sanders pointed out (fairly) at Saturday night’s CBS Democratic presidential debate that Hillary Clinton raises a substantial amount of campaign money from Wall Street, while moderator (and Slate columnist) John Dickerson alluded to the millions of dollars in paid speeches that the former New York senator has given to major banks. Pressed on whether this would compromise her ability as president to properly regulate the financial industry, Clinton answered with a non sequitor, citing her female donors and alluding to 9/11:
Oh, wait a minute, senator. You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small, and I’m very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60%. [Cheers and applause.] So I— I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.
Here’s the video:
The reaction was almost immediate. The Washington Post reports:
Hillary Clinton invoked 9/11 to to answer a question about Wall Street, and Twitter was not happy
It’s tricky to invoke 9/11 on a debate stage. Trickier still when the question has nothing at all to do with national security.
Bernie Sanders slammed Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, stating that her plans to reform the financial industry are “not good enough.”
Why, Sanders asked, has Wall Street been a “major contributor” to Clinton’s campaign? “Maybe they’re dumb and don’t know what they’re going to get, but I don’t think so,” he said.
Clinton defended herself.
“He has basically used his answer to impugn my integrity, let’s be frank here,” Clinton said, noting she has “hundreds of thousands” of donors, many of them small.
And then: Sept. 11.
Twitter was incredulous.
Wait, Hillary Clinton’s answer is Wall Street supports me because 9/11?
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) November 15, 2015
My dad worked in WTC from the day it was built to the day it went down. @HillaryClinton, never invoke 9/11 to justify your Wall St positions
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) November 15, 2015
After the debate was over, CNN reported that the Clinton spin machine was in full force:
In an otherwise unremarkable debate, this stood out as one of the strangest moments.
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