Hillary Clinton silent as Donald Trump escalates attacks, innuendo

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump's attacks against Hillary Clinton are entering a new, more personal phase in an already raucous election season.

The firefight started last week after Trump said Clinton "got schlonged" by President Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries -- taking the Yiddish word for penis and making a verb out of it, which shocked even Yiddish scholars.
The following day, Clinton unloaded on Trump in an interview with The Des Moines Register, saying that was "not the first time he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism."
There was a cease fire of sorts over Christmas but Trump restarted the next day, turning Clinton's words back on her and attempting to pull Bill Clinton into the fight.
"Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE'S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!" Trump tweeted Saturday.
Trump was even more explicit about Bill Clinton's past indiscretions during an interview on Tuesday on NBC's "Today" in which he said Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones and "many" other women who have accused him of having affairs with them would be "fair game" in his continuing fight. The interview marked the first time Trump explicitly named the Clinton accusers.
The war of words comes as Bill Clinton is slated to hit the campaign trail for his wife next weeks after spending months in a mostly behind-the-scenes role. And it offers a preview of the type of race that may be in store later in 2016 if Trump and Hillary Clinton win their party's nominations -- even though the first primary races are still weeks away.
The hits on Bill Clinton's past have long been simmering in the Republican primary. Sen. Rand Paul kept up his attack Monday, saying that Bill Clinton was Hillary's "women's problem." But it wasn't until Trump brought them up that they caught fire.
Clinton's campaign has said she won't be "bullied" by Trump. In a statement on Monday evening, the campaign said it wasn't responding on her behalf but instead for the women and minorities being targeted by Trump.
"When [Trump's] insults are directed at women, immigrants, Asian-Americans, Muslims, the disabled, or hard working Americans looking to raise their wages -- Hillary Clinton will stand up to him, as she has from the beginning," a campaign spokeswoman said.
She was asked about his attacks Tuesday while campaigning in New Hampshire on Tuesday, but declined to answer reporter questions from the ropeline.
It's a long way from the phone call between Bill Clinton and Trump just seven months ago, where Trump alleged that Clinton urged him to run for president -- Clinton denied that he asked Trump to run -- and even further from the chummy appearance of Bill and Hillary Clinton in photos with The Donald at his third wedding, in 2005.
Their two daughters, Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton, maintain a seemingly unlikely friendship. Even as late as this October, Bill Clinton was offering up some backhanded praise for Trump, while admitting that he took a call from him shortly before he launched his White House bid.
The long-standing Clinton-Trump relationship has fueled Republican conspiracy theories that Trump was a Democratic plant, made to cost Republicans the White House.
To get an idea of just how far the relationship between Trump and the top members of the Clinton family have fallen, rewind to October 2008, when, in one sentence Trump argued then-President George W. Bush should be impeached for marching the nation to war and Clinton's impeachment over the Lewinsky affair wasn't merited.
"Look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And yet Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying, by saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true," Trump told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 2008.
But on Tuesday, the real estate mogul dismissed his defense of Clinton as a business "obligation" and said he would provide a list of women harassed by Bill Clinton.
"Well if you look at the different situations, of course you could name many of them, I could get you a list and I'll have it sent to your office in two seconds. But there certainly were a lot of abuse of women, you look at whether it's Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones, or any of them, and that certainly will be fair game," Trump said on NBC. "Certainly, if they play the woman's card with respect to me, that will be fair game."
On Tuesday evening Clinton passed up a chance to comment on Trump. Speaking to a group of about 200 people in Berlin, New Hampshire, she only made an oblique reference to the GOP front-runner's famous catchphrase. "I happen to think that America is great and if we work together, we will be greater," Clinton said.