Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, Jan. 8, 2016.
Photo by Scott Morgan/Reuters

Bernie Sanders on Lewinsky affair: ‘I’m not running against Bill Clinton’

Updated

TOLEDO, Iowa – Confronted by a questioner upset over President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would avoid “mudslinging” and focus on policy differences instead.

“It seems to me like she isn’t qualified to be the president,” the man told Sanders at a town hall, citing the affair, which led to her husband’s unsuccessful impeachment. 

“Look, Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton,” Sanders responded. “What Bill Clinton did, I think we can all acknowledge was totally, totally, totally disgraceful … but I’m running against Hillary Clinton, I’m not running against Bill Clinton.”

The topic of Clinton’s sexual misconduct has come up more often this month as Donald Trump has led an effort to revive scrutiny of the former president’s personal scandals.

Sanders said he took pride in his refusal to air negative campaign ads and that he would not delve into “the personal stuff.”

“I think what we need to do as a nation, certainly something that the Republicans are not doing, is focus on the bloody issues facing this country,” he said, to applause from the crowd.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders on Lewinsky affair: ‘I’m not running against Bill Clinton’

Updated