MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Hillary Clinton appears to call Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard ‘‘the favorite of the Russians’’ in a recent interview while describing 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein as ‘‘a Russian asset.’’
During a podcast appearance this week on Campaign HQ with David Plouffe, the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee did not mention the Hawaii congresswoman by name, but said she believes the Russians have ‘‘got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.’’
‘‘She’s the favorite of the Russians,’’ Clinton said. ‘‘They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. And that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset.’’
The Russians know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, Clinton added.
In a scathing tweet thread, Gabbard called Clinton an “embodiment of corruption” and seemed to invite her to join the 2020 nominating contest.
... powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.
Earlier in the interview, Clinton called President Donald Trump ‘‘Vladimir Putin’s dream.’’ She went on to say that Trump’s inauguration speech was ‘‘like a declaration of war on half of America.’’
In a tweet Friday, Stein accused Clinton of ‘‘peddling conspiracy theories to justify her failure instead of reflecting on real reasons Dems lost in 2016.’’
Gabbard’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment, though Gabbard did respond to similar criticism during the Democratic presidential debate in Ohio earlier this week.
‘‘This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia,’’ Gabbard said onstage. ‘‘Completely despicable.’’