There were a couple of new ones to add to the list Wednesday from Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
In an appearance on CNN’s town hall event in Derry, New Hampshire, Clinton seemed to be enjoying one of her better performances of the campaign so far, easily chatting with host Anderson Cooper and interacting amiably with members of the audience — even those who clearly were not supporters.
Then came a question about the former first lady and former secretary of State accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs for three speeches.
“Did you have to be paid $675K for those speeches?” Cooper asked.
“Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered,” Clinton shrugged. Many in the audience laughed, but the answer seemed tone-deaf for many.
Clinton and Bernie Sanders jousted all day Wednesday over whether the former first lady is a moderate Democrat or a “true” progressive politician, with Sanders saying, “”I do not know any progressive who has a super PAC and takes $15 million dollars from Wall Street. That’s just not progressive.”
During the town hall, Clinton told Cooper that at the time she accepted the speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, she had no plans to seek the presidency and added that the cash had no impact on her views on banking regulation.
Online, pundits and political observers winced at Clinton’s answer. Politico called the answer a “stumble” and even Democratic strategist David Axelrod tweeted “awkward.”
In 2014, Clinton also took heat for what many felt was an out-of-touch claim that she and her husband were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House.
Meanwhile, Clinton opponent Sanders had his own signature moment earlier in the day.
The 74-year-old Vermont senator, a virtual unknown to most of the country before launching his long-shot bid for the presidency, has faced lingering questions about his age and health — including during the Wednesday night town hall meeting.
But Sanders displayed a surprising nimbleness and agility earlier in the day when a man in attendance at one of his press conferences fainted while the candidate spoke with reporters.
In video of the moment, Sanders winces, mid-sentence, at the sound of a loud crash behind him on his right, uttering “Oh my God,” before dashing to the man’s side.
After others helped the man to his feet and off stage, Sanders returned to the lecturn for two more questions.
The clip of the incident went viral online, with one gossip site openly wondering if the whole thing had been staged to make the 74-year-old candidate look heroic.
Other media reports were more flattering: “Politician or Superman?” the Daily Mail asked in its headline over the video on its website.