By Maya Rhodan
March 7, 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit Sen. Bernie Sanders for voting against the 2008 auto industry bailout at a Democratic debate in the heart of the car industry on Sunday.

“In January of 2009, President-elect Obama asked everybody in the Congress to vote for the bailout. The money was there and had to be released in order to save the American auto-industry—4 million jobs,” Clinton said from the CNN debate stage in Flint, Mich. “I voted to save the auto industry. He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry.”

The auto industry has largely rebounded, with record sales in 2015 and more than 600,000 jobs added since 2009. Clinton argued Sunday that if everyone in Congress had voted as Sanders had, the industry wouldn’t be as healthy as it is today. Sanders replied, echoing his views in 2008 and 2009, that he did not think middle class Americans should have to pay for bailouts.

“When billionaires on Wall Street destroyed this economy, they went to Congress and they said, ‘Oh please. We’ll be good boys. Bail us out.’ You know what I said? Let the billionaires themselves bail out Wall Street. It shouldn’t be the middle class of this country,” Sanders said.

Clinton hit back that the Vermont senator is a “single-issue candidate” who would be unwilling to compromise on big economic decisions.

Sanders did not object to being called “single-issue.”

“My one issue is trying to rebuild a disappearing middle class,” Sanders said, arguing that the former Secretary of State is too close to Wall Street. “That’s my one issue”

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