It was a another formulation of something Clinton has said many times, that it wasn't just big banks that drove the financial crisis but also risk-taking insurance giants like AIG and smaller investment banks like Lehman Brothers.
It's a nuance that infuriates ardent financial reformers who want to reinstate the Glass-Steagall wall between investment and consumer banking. Clinton has pointedly refused to endorse rebuilding that wall, which came down under her husband's presidency. Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley both support reinstating Glass-Steagall.
O'Malley's campaign jumped all over Clinton's comments. Deputy campaign manager Lis Smith issued a statement saying "it's disappointing that Secretary Clinton is embracing arguments pushed by the architects of deregulation that big banks did not play a major role in the financial crisis. They, in fact — along with the institutions they aided and abetted, like AIG — were the cause of the collapse."
Smith added that "we need a modernized Glass-Steagall to help reduce risk, the size of too-big-to-fail banks, and the chance of another financial collapse — that's exactly what Gov. O'Malley is pushing for."
Clearly aware of the problem, the Clinton campaign moved swiftly to release a letter from the former secretary of state to all House Democrats urging them to block changes to the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau contained in a bill recently passed out of the House Financial Services Committee .
"Despite the CFPB's record of delivering results and protecting consumers — or because of it — Republicans remain determined to weaken or even destroy the agency," she wrote, in a letter first reported by POLITICO.