Bernie Sanders: GOP debates proof 'we need to invest' in mental health

Story highlights

  • Bernie Sanders referenced the GOP slugfests as another reason to spend more on mental health programs
  • A Clinton campaign staffer suggested the quip was insensitive

(CNN)Bernie Sanders drew laughter and applause Sunday at CNN's Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, when he referenced the GOP slugfests as another reason to spend more on mental health programs.

"We are, if elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health," Sanders said. "And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in that."
    But that quip quickly spurred some backlash on Twitter. One Clinton campaign staffer, Deputy Digital Director Jenna Lowenstein, suggested the Vermont senator went too far with the remark.
    "Mental health is a serious issue. Cheap shots like this are a bad look."
    Clinton had her own, less-pointed, assessment of the recent GOP smack-down.
    "We get into vigorous debate about issues," Clinton said of her face-offs with Sanders. "But compare the substance of this debate with what you saw on the Republican stage last week."
    The most recent gathering of GOP candidates, in Detroit on Thursday, was characterized by a steady volley of personal attacks and Donald Trump's now infamous testimonial about his manhood.