'That is a low blow': Democratic debate derails after Hillary torches Bernie over past Obama criticism

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) had a terse back-and-forth near the end of the Thursday-night Democratic presidential debate, during which Sanders accused Clinton of a "low blow."

Clinton took an opportunity to rip Sanders over his past criticism of President Barack Obama.

In an NBC interview that aired Thursday, Sanders took a slight dig at Obama for supposedly failing to close the "presidential leadership gap" between Congress and the American public.

Click through reactions of the Democratic debate:

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'That is a low blow': Democratic debate derails after Hillary torches Bernie over past Obama criticism
Very condescending, Bernie. #DemDebate
Clinton painting Sanders as someone who supports regime change in other countries #DemDebate
These candidates are so scared to say anything bad about Obama. #DemDebate
Bernie, dude, it sounds like you are talking down to her rather than debating her. This is not a good look for you. Very diff from before...
.@BernieSanders: "If Congress does not do the right thing, we use the executive orders of the President." Sigh. #DemDebate
Bernie says he would be better for race relations than @BarackObama?!?!?! Disgusting lie. #DemDebate
Listening to these politicans, I don't know if I agree entirely with Hillary or Sanders #DemDebate
Who can agree with the other more? #DemDebate
Clinton is killing Bernie in this debate
Clinton gets wild applause from calling out Scott Walker. #DemDebate
"do marijuana" - Sanders
"Healthcare is a right, not a privilege!" -Bernie Sanders #demdebate
Very distracting how Bernie’s microphone keeps popping. #demdebate
#DemDebate: Wait! Hillary is suddenly concerned about increasing the size of government?
Looking to see tonight if Hillary tags Sanders on cost of his promises, especially the tax on stock purchases. #DemDebate
This is the first debate "PBS NewsHour" has ever hosted... #DemDebate
Numbers don't add up? 140 economists have endorsed his plans. #DemDebate
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"This is not the first time he has criticized President Obama," Clinton said.

Clinton referenced past comments from Sanders in which he called Obama "weak." She also pointed to a blurb Sanders wrote lauding the 2016 book, "Buyer's Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down."

"I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for being a president who got us out of that ditch, put us on firm ground, and sent us into the future," Clinton said, noting that Obama came into office in the midst of a deep recession. The comment earned Clinton one of the biggest applause lines of the night from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, crowd.

"The kind of criticism we've heard from Sen. Sanders about our president, I expect from Republicans," she continued. "I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama."

Sanders smiled as he was being attacked.

"Madam Secretary, that is a low blow," he said.

See more from the Thursday night debate:

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'That is a low blow': Democratic debate derails after Hillary torches Bernie over past Obama criticism
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, talk to supporters after a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders greets guests after participating in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton waves to supporters after a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participates in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders participates in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets guests after participating in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and Hillary Clinton argue a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton take the stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, left, and Hillary Clinton smile as they take the stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, left, and Hillary Clinton participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders participates in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, left, speaks as Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton appear during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, right, makes a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton takes the stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, takes the stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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He went on to tout his experience working with Obama and the president's economic record. But, he argued, a senator in a democratic society has a "right" to disagree with a president, even of his own party, once in a while.

Sanders said that he and Obama were "friends."

"I think it is really unfair to suggest that I have not been supportive of the president," he said. "I have been a strong ally with him on every issue."

He then turned to Clinton: "Have you ever disagreed with the president? I suspect you may have."

Clinton returned to her criticism of Sanders, accusing him of supporting calls for a 2012 primary opponent during Obama's reelection process.

"I think that goes further than saying, 'Hey, we have our disagreements,'" she said. "... Those kinds of personal assessments and charges are ones that I find particularly troubling."

Sanders returned with a scathing end to the back and forth.

"One of us ran against Barack Obama," he said. "I was not that candidate."

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