On the debate stage in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday night, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton fought back against accusations by a Twitter user that she was improperly invoking the spirit of 9/11 to justify taking donations from big banks.
During the debate, Clinton said that as a former senator from New York during the aftermath of the attacks, she was closely tied to New York financial institutions suffering in the wake of the attack. Clinton spent "a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild," she said as part of an explanation as to why she is a favored recipient of financial industry donations.
Clinton was then asked to respond to this tweet, setting off an argument between her and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the process.
"Well, I'm sorry that whoever tweeted that had that impression because I worked closely with New Yorkers after 9/11 for my entire first term to rebuild," Clinton said. "And so yes, I did know people. I've had a lot of folks who give me donations from all kinds of backgrounds, say, 'I don't agree with you on everything, but I like what you do, I like how you stand up, I'm going to support you.'"
"If I might, I think the issue here is, and I applaud Secretary Clinton, she did," Sanders responded. "She's a senator from New York, she worked and many of us supported you in trying to rebuild our devastation. But at at the end of the day, Wall Street today has enormous economic and political power. Their business model is greed and fraud, and for the sake of our economy, the major banks must be broken up."
Asked for clarification on why Clinton has been "influenced" by Wall Street, Sanders said "the major issue right now is whether or not we re-establish Glass-Steagall," a 1933 law splitting the investment and commercial banking industries. The law was repealed in 1999, and Clinton does not support bringing it back.
Sanders said "I led the effort, unfortunately unsuccessfully, against deregulation because I knew when you merge large insurance companies and investor banks and commercial banks it was not going to be good."
"The issue now is do we break them up, do we re-establish Glass-Steagall, and Secretary Clinton unfortunately is on the wrong side," Sanders concluded.
"Well, I'll tell you who's on my side," Clinton shot back. "Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist who said my plan for what we should do to reign in Wall Street was more comprehensive and better. Paul Volcker, one of the leading lights of trying to reign in the excesses, has also said he does not support reinstating Glass-Steagall."
"This might seem like a bit of an arcane discussion," she continued. "I have nothing against the passion that my two friends here have about reinstating Glass-Steagall, I just don't think it would get the job done. I'm all about making sure we actually get results for whatever we do."
Watch the exchange here: