TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton on Why She’s Not an ‘Establishment’ Candidate

"Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me ... as exemplifying the establishment," Clinton said

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed back against Senator Bernie Sanders’ repeated claim that she is a part of the establishment at Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

Sanders has lobbed the term establishment at Clinton at various points throughout the campaign, intending it as an insult against the backdrop of his grassroots campaign. Clinton, though, said Thursday that her support among former and current politicians and influential leaders doesn’t mean she’s against the people — it means other leaders trust her.

“People support me because they know me, they know my life’s work, they have worked with me, many have also worked with Senator Sanders,” Clinton said. “But at the end of the day, they endorse me because they know that I get things done. I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep.”

Clinton then slammed Sanders for painting her as the antithesis of what populist voters want. She called his criticisms of her an “artful smear,” saying Sanders is insinuating her political power can be purchased by the highest bidder.

Clinton also pulled out the gender card in her rebuttal to Sanders, noting that the fact that she’s running to become the first female President proves that she is not a part of the establishment.

“Honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman President, as exemplifying the establishment,” Clinton said. “It’s really quite amusing to me.”

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