UPDATE – 6:27 p.m. EST: Bernie Sanders responded to questions on recently leaked audio of Hillary Clinton’s arguably controversial comments about the Vermont senator’s campaign in an interview with CNN Sunday.
Audio of Hillary Clinton’s remarks at a private fundraiser in February were released by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday after hackers obtained the file through a campaign staff member’s email.
In the recording, the Democratic presidential candidate most notably addresses the U.S. nuclear weapons program, the Bernie Sanders’ phenomenon and the polarization of American politics at an event hosted by a former U.S. ambassador in McLean, Va.
Apparently frustrated by a strong primary challenge from Vermont’s Independent senator, Clinton attempted to explain Sanders’ political appeal to her donors by blaming the relatively weak economic recovery and lack of opportunity for young Americans.
“They’re children of the Great Recession,” Clinton said. “And they are living in their parents’ basement. . . . And so if you’re feeling like you’re consigned to, you know, being a barista, or you know, some other job that doesn’t pay a lot, and doesn’t have some other ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing.”
Clinton also addressed the stark differences that have prevailed in popular political sentiments over the past decade both at the federal and grass-roots level and explained where she fits now on the very wide U.S. ideological spectrum.
“Everybody who’s ever been in an election that I’m aware of is quite bewildered because there is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates,” she said. “And on the other side, there’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare . . . I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right.”
Later in the question-and-answer segment, Clinton addressed concerns expressed by former assistant Secretary of Defense, Andy Weber, about the nuclear Long-Range Stand-Off program (LRSO), currently being implemented by the Obama administration.
Specifically, Weber asked the former Secretary if she would be in favor of canceling LRSO, to which Clinton responded that she “would be inclined to do that. . . . The last thing we need are sophisticated cruise missiles that are nuclear armed.”
Clinton also noted, however, that Russia and Pakistan are currently utilizing similar weapons systems. President Obama has made efforts to phase-in LRSO and completely replace the Air Force’s Air-Launched Cruise Missiles by the end of the 2020s at an estimated cost of $17-to-30 billion.
At a campaign event in January the Democratic presidential contender said she would “look into” opposing “plans to spend a trillion dollars” on developing a new nuclear weapons program, which could trigger an arms race.
However, former Air Force officer and Jeb Bush campaign adviser, John Noonan, says that Clinton is merely playing politics with anti-war voters and that her comments in February could be chalked up to “just petting a donor on the head and telling him he’s pretty.”
Listen to Clinton’s complete comments on the “Sanders revolution” below.
[Washington Free Beacon] [The Intercept] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via New York Post]