Bernie Sanders said that Hillary Clinton is not "qualified" to be president, the latest salvo in the battle for the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party.
"Secretary Clinton appears to be getting a little bit nervous," Sanders told a crowd in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening. "And she has been saying lately that she thinks that I am 'not qualified' to be president. Well, let me, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton: I don't believe that she is qualified."
He quickly ticked off several reasons for that assertion: her supporting Super PACs accepting vast sums from special interest donors, including donations from Wall Street banks; her vote cast to authorize the Iraq War in 2003; and her support of free trade agreements including the Panama Free Trade Agreement, a new talking point Sanders is using to link Clinton to the Panama Papers.
He also seemed to be responding directly to remarks from Clinton earlier in the day, when she was asked on MSNBC whether she thought Sanders was ready to be president.
"I think he hadn't done his homework, and he'd been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn't really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions," Clinton said. She was referring, in part, to an interview with the New York Daily News, in which Sanders seemed to struggle to answer specific questions about his plan to break up the big banks (though many have pointed out his answer was basically right).
The two are headed toward a heated battle in New York on April 19, one of the biggest remaining delegate prizes on the primary map. Clinton is counting on a home-state advantage, but Sanders is making a play for the state’s younger and more liberal voters, particularly in New York City.
At the event in Philadelphia, Sanders said Clinton had been acting "nervous" because she sensed momentum shifting in his favor — Sanders won six of the past seven nominating contests.
But this late in a primary season, it is delegate math, not momentum, that matters. According to Vox’s delegate tracker, Clinton holds about 300 more delegates than Sanders, excluding superdelegates, who overwhelmingly swing in Clinton’s favor. In order to clinch the nomination, Sanders would need to win about 54 percent of remaining pledged delegates, a tall order for a candidate whose most favorable races, in states with large white populations or that hold caucuses, have already passed.
Despite his claim to momentum, the primary map is also now turning to larger states that hold primaries, territories where Clinton tends to do best.