Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has dismissed as “ridiculous” a charge by rival Bernie Sanders that she is “unqualified” to be president.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stood by his comments, pointing to Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street links and her vote for the war in Iraq.
Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton started the latest war of words by attacking him first.
The two candidates will do battle in a New York showdown in two weeks, a state where both have strong links.
Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in the Wisconsin primary contest on April 5, and could pick up more delegates in Wyoming on April 9 before the greater prize of New York is up for grabs.
The latest row began on April 6 when Hillary Clinton was asked if Bernie Sanders was qualified to be president, after he gave a newspaper interview in which he appeared to struggle to answer some questions.
“I think he hadn’t done his homework and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hasn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions,” Hillary Clinton told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
On the same day, Bernie Sanders told a crowd of supporters at Temple University that Hillary Clinton had accused him of being unqualified.
“Well let me, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton, I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, through her super PAC [fundraising committee], taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds,” the Vermont senator said.
“I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.”
Bernie Sanders went on to list her backing of the Iraq War and her support of trade agreements as other disqualifications. On April 7, he repeated his comments.
The Clinton campaign hit back, with spokesman Brian Fallon tweeting: “Hillary Clinton did not say Bernie Sanders was <<not qualified>>. But he has now, absurdly, said it about her. This is a new low.”
One of Hillary Clinton’s senior aides, Christina Reynolds, said it was “a ridiculous and irresponsible attack for someone to make” against one of the most qualified candidates ever to run.
On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton told Politico she explains things in a way more “open and truthful than my opponent,” and said she explains what she would do as president rather than “lots of arm-waving and hot rhetoric”.