Bill Clinton rips Sanders backers' 'sexist,' 'profane' attacks

Story highlights

  • Bill Clinton is campaigning for his wife's presidential bid in New Hampshire
  • On Sunday, he spotlighted supporters of her opponent for what he called "sexist" attacks and harassment

(CNN)Bill Clinton lashed out at "sexist" and "profane" attacks on Hillary Clinton and her supporters by proponents of Bernie Sanders, and accused them of harassing those who don't back the Vermont senator's campaign or disagree with his policies.

Speaking in New Hampshire on Sunday, Clinton delivered an extended rebuke of the Sanders supporters, whom he said subject people who back his wife to "vicious trolling."
    He described a progressive blogger who wrote a favorable column about the former secretary of state but was compelled to post it under a pseudonym out of fear of blowback from Sanders proponents.
    "She and other people who have gone online to defend Hillary and explain -- just explain -- why they supported her have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often -- not to mention sexist -- to repeat," Clinton said.
    With just hours to go before voting starts in New Hampshire, Clinton is solidly trailing Sanders in the state, with the latest CNN poll of polls average showing the Vermont senator up 14 percentage points.
    And Clinton slammed Sanders and his backers for derisively labeling opponents as part of the "establishment" when they disagree.
    "The online campaign is, 'anybody who doesn't agree with me is a tool of the establishment,'" Clinton argued.
    The former president went on, "When you're making a revolution, you can't be too careful about the facts," drawing laughs. "You're just for me or against me."
    Mike Briggs, spokesman for Sanders campaign, called Bill Clinton's comments "disappointing," in this statement to CNN.
    "Obviously the race has changed in New Hampshire and elsewhere in recent days," Briggs said. "Bernie will continue to focus on his message -- that America has a rigged economy that sends most new wealth to the top and is held in place by corrupt system of campaign-finance. The voters in New Hampshire and in America deserve a campaign that focuses on the real issues."
    Clinton also accused the Sanders campaign of shirking responsibility for improperly accessing Clinton campaign voter data in a high-profile incident in December.
    "In public (they apologized). In private they sent an email out complaining, blaming the Democratic Party for leaving the keys in the car. 'All I did was drive it off,'" he joked. "And they raised a million dollars! That's pretty good. You got to give it to them."
    "I tried to loot information from the other guy's computer and I raised a million dollars out of it," Clinton laughed.
    And Clinton advised the audience to reject Sanders's broad attacks on Clinton and his simple outsider-versus-establishment argument.
    "(My mother) told me Bill, any time someone tries to get you to stop thinking, they are not your true friend," he warned. "I just want you to think."