Clinton campaigned for his wife in South Carolina Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton continued to weigh in Monday on intensified criticism of his wife, telling a South Carolina audience, "those boys have been getting tough on her."
"It's a great time to be a Democrat," the former president told students in Charleston, South Carolina. "Even though those boys have been getting tough on her lately, she can handle it."
The comments are in reference to the heat Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, has taken since a Democratic presidential debate two weeks ago when she appeared to hedge on a question about drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants.
Bill Clinton also came to his wife's defense last week, linking the current criticism of her debate performance to the "swift boat" television ad campaign aimed at then presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and an ad in 2002 questioning then-Sen. Max Cleland's patriotism. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, later said he was "stunned" by that comparison and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, called "it over the top."
Clinton has repeatedly said her rivals are teaming up against her because she is leading in polls, not because she is the lone female presidential candidate.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney