SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday she will “not be silenced” about gun violence, renewing her debate-night tangle with rival Bernie Sanders on what could be a bellwether issue for Democratic primary voters.
Emerging from their first presidential debate, Clinton signaled that she would make gun laws a key distinction with Sanders, who has voted against some gun control measures as a senator representing rural Vermont. The issue is one of the rare cases in which Sanders is at odds with some liberals in the party.
“I’ve been told by some quit talking about this, to quit shouting about this,” Clinton said at a rally with Latinos in San Antonio. “I will tell you right now, I will not be silenced and we will not be silenced — we must continue to speak out. I will keep taking on the NRA.”
Clinton did not mention Sanders by name but during Tuesday’s debate, he said “all the shouting in the world” won’t keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them “and end this horrible violence that we are seeing.”
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The Vermont senator voted for a 2005 measure to give gun manufacturers immunity from lawsuits. Clinton opposed that bill in the Senate and said in the debate that Sanders wasn’t tough enough “at all” on gun violence. Sanders said he supports expanded background checks for gun owners and noted that he’s had a D-minus rating from the National Rifle Association.
In Texas, Clinton addressed more than 2,000 people at a Mexican-themed rally in a push for Hispanic voters and collected the endorsement of Housing Secretary Julian Castro, who has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential running mate if Clinton secures the nomination.
Earlier, asked about the speculation about Castro in an appearance with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she praised him and said, “I am going to really look hard at him for anything because that’s how good he is.”
Texas is the largest of a dozen-plus states set to hold Super Tuesday presidential primaries on March 1. The state’s population is booming, with nearly all of that growth driven by Hispanics — but a Democrat hasn’t won statewide office here since 1994, the nation’s longest such political losing streak.
Clinton has long been a favorite of Texas Democrats, who supported her over Barack Obama in the state’s 2008 Democratic primary.
In the 1970s, she and her then-boyfriend Bill Clinton lived in San Antonio for three months while she was a law student and worked for George McGovern’s presidential campaign.
“Your fights are my fights, they always have been, they always will be,” said Clinton, who also said that without immigrants America would be less diverse, less economically strong and “far less interesting.”
Thomas reported from Manchester, N.H.
On Twitter, follow Will Weissert at http://twitter.com/apwillweissert and Ken Thomas at http://twitter.com/kthomasdc.