Going in with tensions high, it only took the leading Democratic candidates a half hour to push the MSNBC debate to a point that gave a whole new meaning to the word "chilly." The back and forth got so severe at one point that viewers were likely to forget anyone other than the two presidential hopefuls were actually in the room — that is until the audience chimed in loud and clear to express its disapproval with one of former Secretary of State Clinton's statements. So why was Hillary Clinton booed at the debate? Sanders supporters in the crowd were not exactly happy at Clinton's accusations of Sanders playing dirty.
Clinton made the decision to verbalize her feelings on Sanders's repeated efforts at drawing a connection between the former secretary of state and Wall Street. The Vermont senator has never shied away from making reference to the hefty speaking fees and Goldman Sachs donations Clinton has received in the past, and former Secretary Clinton reached a breaking point on stage at the University of New Hampshire venue, saying:
I think it's time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out.
Plenty of folks in the crowd at the UNH event found Clinton's suggestion to be a line crossed, and the sound of enthusiastic booing filled up the room. Fear of negative feedback did not prevent Clinton from fleshing out the matter, explaining in detail exactly what she believed Sanders to be alleging before being gifted with those loud boos:
Sen. Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, but time and time again, by innuendo and by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth ... which really comes down to anyone who ever took donations or speaking fees from interest groups has to be bought, and I absolutely reject that, Senator.
Clinton also argued that the attacks by Sanders's campaign were not accurate, stating that she "worked hard for McCain-Feingold," a federal law that that regulates the financing of political campaigns.
MSNBC commentators pointed out in the pre-debate coverage that the majority of the event's audience was comprised of Bernie Sanders supporters. The state's polls show Sanders to have a significant lead over Clinton in the weeks before the primary election. And New Hampshire's being a space for Sanders fans became even clearer when Sanders's rebuttal resulted in hearty cheers from the crowd. He said:
Let's talk about why, in the 1990s, Wall Street got deregulated. Did it have anything to do with the fact that Wall Street provided — spent billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions?
Sanders went on to make similar points about acceptance of donations and campaign contributions aiding pharmaceutical companies and the fossil fuels industry. It was Sanders' laying down of some serious truth, though, that turned those Clinton boos into emphatic applause. Added Sanders:
That is what goes on in America.
And that's how you drop the mic.