Sen. Bernie Sanders said he was annoyed by a question about Bill Clinton’s past indiscretions and wanted to run an “issue-oriented campaign” — but called the ex-president’s behavior “deplorable.”
“Yes, his behavior was deplorable,” Sanders said near the end of Sunday’s Democratic debate. “Have I ever once said a word about that issue? No, I have not.”
During the debate, moderator Andrea Mitchell asked Sanders if he regretted his remarks about the former president’s sexual indiscretions, in which he called them “totally, totally, totally disgraceful and unacceptable.”
Sanders noted that it wasn’t his idea to bring up the subject.
“I was asked a question,” Sanders said. “And that question annoys me.”
“I cannot walk down the street, Secretary Clinton knows this, without being told how much I have to attack Secretary Clinton,” he said, adding that he has resisted the pressure to make a “vicious attack” in an effort to run an “issue-oriented campaign.”
“You didn’t have to answer it that way though, why did you?” Mitchell asked.
“Then if I don’t answer it, that is another front page,” Sanders replied.
Sanders insisted he was determined to debate his opponents “on the issues facing the American people, not Bill Clinton’s personal behavior.”
Clinton nodded silently.
Watch Sanders’ response in the video above.