DES MOINES, Iowa – Hillary Clinton heaped praise on Bernie Sanders’ ad featuring Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” at a town hall hosted by CNN here Monday night, staying away from the sharp criticism she’s lobbed against him in recent days.
“I think that’s great. I think that’s fabulous. I loved it!” Clinton exclaimed after watching the 60-second spot, adding that it was a good example of Mario Cuomo’s famed expression about campaigning in poetry but governing in prose. “I love the feeling. I love the energy. I obviously respect Senator Sanders greatly and appreciate what he has done in this campaign. But I believe that I’m the better person to be the democratic nominee and to be the president and commander in chief of the country.”
All three Democratic candidates participated in the event and stood for most of their time on stage, in an attempt to make the broadcast feel more like a conventional town hall. With less than a week to go until the Iowa caucuses, candidates faced questions from mostly undecided voters and those who were leaning toward their opponents.
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The former secretary of state was animated throughout, gesticulating wildly at times.
When a young man who was pro-Sanders asked Clinton why his peers might distrust her, she imagined college kids viewing attacks against her and saying: “Oh my gosh, look at all this!” by bringing her hands to her head and thrusting her arms out in feigned frustration.
“They throw all this stuff at me and I’m still standing,” Clinton said. “I’ve been on the frontlines of change and progress since I was your age.”
Clinton had a jam-packed schedule Monday and seemed to exude more energy at every event. The CNN forum was her fourth town hall of the day.
Though Clinton typically rails against Republicans in these types of events, she answered a question about how she’d work with them if elected by saying she’d give “them all bear hugs, whether they like it or not.”
She refused to say that using a private email server was “an error in judgment,” instead promising that she’s told the truth so far and will continue to do so until November.
When asked about President Obama’s kind comments about her in a Politico interview released Monday, Clinton said she was “really touched and gratified.”