In Post-Debate Push, Hillary Clinton Highlights Gun Divide With Bernie Sanders

PHOTO: Left to right, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas, Oct. 13, 2015 in Las Vegas.PlayJoe Raedle/Getty Images
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In a debate many pundits believe was dominated by Hillary Clinton, some of her strongest moments rode on gun control, and now she is pressing the issue in what could be an advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Clinton made her first visit to New Hampshire on Friday since the campaign cycle's first Democratic debate. Holding a town hall at Keene State College, the former secretary of state said the gun lobby had “intimidated” elected officials from regulating the industry.

But she didn’t stop there. She also took the opportunity to draw a contrast with her biggest rival.

“Some people say we shouldn’t shout about it,” she noted, drawing attention to Sanders' debate remarks that “all the shouting in the world” would not keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people.

“Well, I think we have to keep talking about it,” she continued. “But more importantly, we have to act.”

It was the second time in as many days she referenced the phrase from the Vermont senator.

Just hours later, Hillary for America released a video drawing a parallel between Clinton and President Obama.

“Somebody somewhere will comment, and say 'Obama politicized this issue,'” the president says before the video cuts to Clinton proclaiming at a San Antonio rally: “I’ve been told, by some, to quit shouting about this. Well, I’ll tell you right now, I will not be silenced.”

Clinton referenced the Brady Bill at the town hall, which she said Sanders voted against five times. She added that a complete ban on handguns in Australia was “worth looking at,” which gun rights groups immediately pounced on with a headline from the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action read "Hillary Clinton Supports Australia-Style Gun Legislation."

"If you own a gun now, take heed," the group said. "President Obama and now Hillary Clinton finally made clear what they’re really after -- national gun confiscation."

Dante Scala, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, noted gun control can be used by Clinton to capture Democrats who might otherwise support Sanders.

“[Clinton] will use gun control as a wedge issue in the primary, especially among college-educated, professional women,” he said.

Later on Friday, in an interview with CNN, Clinton was asked if she was intentionally positioning herself to advance on Sanders.

“I don’t think I’ve moved at all,” she said. “I have been the same person. I have the same values. I have the same principles … I'm sure we had some memo somewhere pointing out things that we tried to go after. But that's politics. I get it.”

Her longtime friend and supporter Terry Shumaker echoed the sentiment.

“It’s not any campaign tactic. It’s what she truly believes,” he said. “But drawing a distinction between another candidate and yourself on past votes, and what should be done to stop these slaughters, is very legitimate.”