The next day, CNN asked Clinton’s spokesman if she was referring to Gabbard. He replied: “If the nesting doll fits.”
Gabbard, a 38-year-old Army veteran and Hawaii lawmaker who has criticized US involvement in Syria and received favorable coverage in Russian state media, said Clinton’s accusation, which was widely repeated on social media, was “devastating” to her reputation.
“Clinton’s peddling of this theory has harmed Tulsi, has harmed American voters, and has harmed American democracy,” said Gabbard, who added that she has “spent her entire adult life serving this country.”
She said she had asked Clinton to retract the statement, to no avail.
One of 11 Democratic candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination, Gabbard is polling at 1.3 percent among likely primary voters, according to an average compiled by Real Clear Politics.Clinton, a former first lady, was the Democratic nominee in 2016 but lost to Donald Trump in the November elections.