Hillary Clinton took a swipe at rival Bernie Sanders during last night’s Democratic debate – after he claimed she “insulted” all gay people.
The former Secretary of State has faced tough questions over her LGBT rights record from the 1990s and early 2000s.
Senator Sanders recently questioned her defence of husband Bill Clinton – who signed the anti-gay Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law as part of a compromise with Republicans, who were pushing for an anti-gay constitutional amendment.
Speaking in Iowa last week, Sanders said: “Check the record, find out where my opponent was on all of these issues. It is great to be against the [Iraq] war after you vote for the war. It is great to be for gay rights, after you insult the entire gay community by supporting DOMA.”
In the latest Democratic debate last night, Secretary Clinton challenged the claim that supporting on DOMA suggests that she’s not a “progressive”.
She said: “I am a progressive who gets things done. And the root of that word, progressive, is progress.
“But I’ve heard Senator Sanders’ comments, and it’s really caused me to wonder who’s left in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
“Under his definition, President Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street, Vice President Biden is not progressive because he supported Keystone, Senator Shaheen is not progressive because she supports the trade pact.
“Even the late, great Senator Paul Wellstone would not fit this definition because he voted for DOMA.”
She added: “Let’s go down a path where we can actually tell people what we will do.
“A progressive is someone who makes progress. That’s what I intend to do.”
Senator Sanders hit back: “This whole discussion began because I commented, not making overall evaluation about the Secretary… she was in Ohio, I think, in September or November and she got up and said something like, ‘I have been criticized because people think I’m a moderate. Well, I am a moderate’.
“That’s where this came from. It wasn’t me paraphrasing her. It is what she said, and all that I said was there’s nothing wrong with being a moderate. But, you can’t be a moderate, you can’t a progressive.”
Clinton retorted: “In the very first debate I was asked am I a moderate or a progressive, and I said ‘I’m a progressive who likes to get things done’.
“Cherry picking a quote here or there doesn’t change my record of having fought for racial justice.”
Clinton also raised LGBT rights at the end of the debate.
She said: “We didn’t get to talk about the continuing struggles that Americans face with racism, with sexism, with discrimination against the LGBT community, with new Americans, with people with disabilities.
“I have been moved by my heart ever since I was a young woman about the age of a lot of Senator Sanders’ supporters worrying what I can do to make a difference for my country, and I will bring that heart with me, but I will also tell you we’ve got to get our heads together to come up with the best answers to solve the problems so that people can have real differences in their lives that will make them better for now and into the future.”