Being found offensive and possibly Hillary Clinton’s biggest campaign blunder to date, at the Saturday night Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa, she invoked reference to 9/11 in her comments. She was attempting to defend her criticism from Bernie Sanders – also a presidential candidate – when she incredibly pulled a 9/11 comment out of nowhere. She was defending herself regarding her campaign contributions coming from wealthy donors, including those from Wall Street, when she inappropriately started talking about 9/11 – and, incredibly, suggesting that she was somewhat of a local hero in her political work at the time. She boasted that she represented New York City – and Manhattan, where the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred – on Sept. 11, 2001. According to Yahoo! News, the reference to 9/11 was totally unrelated to what was being discussed. The public and media in general quickly reacted negatively to Clinton’s dodging the point that Sanders appropriately made about her campaign contributions coming from the wealthy. Additionally, they found extreme offensive disfavor with her abusing the 9/11 tragedy to deflect the appropriate concerns over her campaign contributions.
Sanders’ point was well-taken when he said that, if Clinton is elected president, she will have a lot of extremely wealthy people and financially successful companies looking to her for payback since she has accepting very large donations from them. Wall Street was specifically mentioned in the discussion. Sanders made the valid point that it would be impossible for Clinton to effectively regulate the financial industry since she has taken literally millions of dollars in donations from Wall Street. It has been said that there is no way that Clinton should have linked that financial concern expressed by Sanders to the 9/11 tragedy – and in a way in which she was desperately trying to make herself look good. It has been deemed to be blatantly abusive and offensive by the media and the public.
Following the debate, throughout Sunday on the campaign trail, Clinton and her campaign people found it very difficult – if not impossible – to defend the 9/11 remark. Since the occurrence in the debate, the severe backlash continues to come across social media and the media in general. The criticisms ranged from near-disbelief to outrage from other campaigns, Clinton’s political opponents, as well as the public reaction on Twitter, primarily. If there is any silver lining in this, it’s that by awkwardly having a presidential debate on Saturday night, there were relatively few viewers of the event. The LA Times reports that only 8.6 million people tuned in.
Clinton was on the defense through much of the debate, according to the Washington Post. Many sources have criticized Clinton’s total performance in the debate. Though Sanders and Martin O’Malley didn’t score the home runs they probably hoped for in this debate, Clinton is being said to have lost the most ground – but is still by far the front runner on the Democratic side. Specifically of critical note regarding Clinton, Glenn Thrush who is the chief political correspondent at Politico said that Mrs. Clinton’s remarks – including her abusive grab at the 9/11 tragedy – were “nuts and indefensible.” RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer said her inappropriate comment was “stupid and offensive.” Sanders’ campaign people simply stated the obvious which was that pulling 9/11 out of the air to respond to Bernie Sanders’ comments about her wealthy Wall Street donors was not in any way “a legitimate defense” of Sanders’ financial concerns about Clinton.