The three Democrats left stranding—frontrunner Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—debate tonight in Iowa the day after a series of horrific Islamic terror attacks rocked Paris and left 129 dead and hundreds more injured.
In Iowa, viewers may be more interested in their undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes (Iowa ate nearly ten minutes off the clock on a 17-play drive and took a 7-0 lead on a LeShun Daniels touchdown run before Minnesota tied the game on quarterback Mitch Leidner’s touchdown run) taking on Minnesota to keep their undefeated season—and hopes of making the College Football Playoff—alive. And Americans all across the country will be more interested in the evening’s slate of college football games than the debate, which is exactly what Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz wanted in order protect Clinton.
CBS’s John Dickerson, who urged President Barack Obama to “destroy” and “delegitimize” the GOP, is moderating the debate and he and his team reportedly “met with each of the campaigns for more than an hour to discuss the major issues at play in the race, sources on the campaigns said, describing the pre-interview as ‘informational in nature.’” A Politico report noted that “prior to the CNN debate, the campaigns said moderator Anderson Cooper did not reach out directly to them before the candidates took the stage. It is extremely doubtful whether Dickerson and his ilk would have given Republicans an “informational” meeting. The Sanders campaign was reportedly livid that CBS decided to switch the focus of the debate to foreign policy issues.
During the last debate, Sanders torpedoed his candidacy by saying Americans didn’t “give a damn” about Clinton’s email scandal. Sanders’s momentum immediately halted and he has since plummeted in the polls. Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb dropped out of the race after that debate.
CBS News’s Nancy Cordes, Kevin Cooney, a news anchor for an Iowa CBS affiliate, and the Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich will moderate the debate. Breitbart News will be providing live updates of the lovefest.
Breitbart News investigative reporter Patrick Howley is on the ground at the debate.
If the mainstream media were not biased and truly impartial umpires, there should be plenty of complaints from the mainstream media about the lack of gotcha questions and other questions that goad candidates to attack others on the stage like there were after the Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal GOP debate. Don’t count on it.
10:55: Sanders says America has more income inequality than any major country on earth. He cites America’s highest rate of childhood poverty, etc. “That’s not the America that I think we should be,” he says. But he says that a “political revolution” is needed to bring about the change that we need. He calls on millions to “turn off the TV” and get involved in the process and tell the big-money interests that “we are taking back our country.”
10:52: Clinton says she has heard a lot about “me” in the debate and I’m going to keep talking about all of you. She says the president’s job is to do everything possible/she can do to “lift up the people of this country.” She says she’s spent her entire life trying to figure out how she can “even the odds” for people who are behind and doesn’t have a chance. (not mention of her crony capitalism detailed in Clinton Cash).
10: 50: In his closing statement, O’Malley takes another passive-aggressive shot at Clinton by saying America is not going to solve problems by returning to “polarizing figures from our past” or “divisive ideologies” from our past.”
10:46: Candidates are asked what crisis they have faced in their lives that will prove to Americans that they are tested for the White House.
Sanders says he met with veterans from WWII and Vietnam and all the wars on a Senate Committee and he was determined all he could to do make VA healthcare the best in the world (nobody calls out Hillary brushing off the VA crisis).. he claimed he could only get two Republicans for a bill and he ended up working on legislation for the vets with Republicans that wasn’t what he wanted but was the best that he could get.
O’Malley says there is not a crisis at the state or local level that can prepare someone for the presidency. But he says that as a mayor and governor that he learned certain disciplines that are applicable to the presidency.. you learn threats change, create a security cabinet, feedback mechanisms, etc. He says he has been tried under many different emergencies and under each of those emergencies he knew how to lead and govern because he knows how to manage people and the goal of protecting human life.
Clinton says “there are so many that I don’t know where to start.” She says she had to advise Obama whether to go after bin Laden. She says there were many difficult choices but that was the most challenging because the intelligence was not absolute. She says that in the end she recommended that “we take the chance” to find out whether it was bin Laden and bring him to justice.
10:43: Sanders says “Medicare for all” and a single-payer system is the way to go.
Clinton, when asked about her comments that momentum for single-payer health care would “sweep the country,” says “the revolution never came” and “I waited and I’ve got the scars to show for it.”
10:40: O’Malley and Sanders debate about “debt-free” college. Says “outrageous” interest rates that the federal government is charging should be lowered. O’Malley, perhaps trying to invoke John Edwards, says “it doesn’t need to be this way.”
10:35: Clinton says there was a lot of activism in the 1960s when asked if she would encourage more people to agitate like students at the University of Missouri. She says what happened at Missouri reflects “the deep sense of concern” and “even despair” that young people of color have. She tries her best to dance around the question knowing it’s a huge trouble spot with the silent majority–of all backgrounds–in the general election.
She says she has heard stories about a black person being shot by a white man for not turning down the music. Clinton tells the story about the 15-year Hadiya Pendleton who was tragically shot to death in Chicago after she had performed during Obama’s inaugural festivities. Clinton doesn’t mention the race of the person who killed Pendleton like she did when she recalled the story about the older white male who shot the black youth for playing music too loudly.
10: 30: O’Malley asked about race relations and some police officers being afraid to enforce the law because they are worried about being caught on camera… He says “I think the call of your question is how can we improve public safety in America and race relations in America understanding” how both of those issues are intertwined. He says we should all feel sense of responsibility as Americans to look for things that work to save and redeem more lives. He says he restored voting rights, decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, etc. But neither he nor the moderator makes any mention of all of the arrests that happened under O’Malley’s watch that caused Baltimore residents to boo him when he came back to the region during the riots and why O’Malley cannot win the black vote to even have a chance at competing with Clinton.
O’Malley, who botched this answer from the left-wing’s perspective, then says “Black Lives Matter.”
10:28: Hillary asked about why Democrats should not worry about whether another shoe will drop in the benghazi/email scandals.
“I think after 11 hours, that’s pretty clear,” she says. (Good Job giving her that talking point House Republicans).
Sanders “Still Sick and Tired of Hillary Clinton’s Emails.”
His answer takes one of Clinton’s biggest vulnerabilities–her honesty and trustworthiness–off of the table. The email issue could be used to call to question her claims about not being beholden to Wall Street and a host of other things. Sanders’s answers shows a lot of liberals that he may be more interested in championing his pet socialist causes instead of actually wanting to win the nomination. Obama would not have given Clinton a pass. That’s why he won the nomination and is now president.
10:25: Sanders is asked again about Hillary’s emails. He says “it’s just media stuff” and he was sick and tired of Hillary Clinton’s emails and I’m still sick and tired of Hillary’s emails.”
10: 23: Sanders is asked about the conservative revolution (he says they are “shaking their heads” if they are listening to tonight’s debate instead of watching college football) that is going on right now. Sanders says “we are going to do a political revolution” that will bring seniors, minorities, and working people together. He says it is about bringing people together to say “enough is enough” because this government “belongs to the people” and “not the billionaires.”
10: 20: Sanders just sounds shrill and anti-capitalist and is not making a compelling case about Clinton being tied to the permanent political class that voters on both sides of the aisle are revolting against in this election cycle.
10: 18: Hillary slammed on Twitter by an Iowa law professor for invoking 9/11 to justify getting “millions of Wall Street donations.” When Cordes asks her about bizarrely invoking 9/11 and what that does have to do with taking big donations, she says she is sorry whoever Tweeted that had that impression.
Here’s the Tweet:
— Andy Grewal (@AndyGrewal) November 15, 2015
O’Malley blasts America for burying so many people due to gun violence. He accuses Clinton for being on three sides of the issues–saying we need regulations, being Annie Oakley in 2008, and now saying we need more regulations.”
Sanders says that Baltimore is not one of the safest cities in America.
Sanders is not sure that there is “any disagreement” on guns at the debate… O’Malley and Clinton think otherwise. O’Malley says gunshow loophole should be closed.
Clinton: I will do Everything I Can to Go After Gun Lobby
10:14: Dickerson gives Clinton an opportunity to go to Sanders’s left on guns and she claims that 3,000 people have been killed by guns since Democrats last debated in Las Vegas.
“This is an emergency,” she says. “We have to also go after the gun lobby.”
She says she will do everything she can as president to put more restrictions on the Second Amendment.
10:12: Sanders says the “business model of Wall Street is fraud.” He blasts Clinton for saying that Wall Street has “played by the rules.”
10:10: O’Malley says he would not have Robert Rubin or Larry Summers–with all due respect to them or the Clintons–on his economic team because they were the architects of many of the failed financial policies. O’Malley says Clinton’s Wall Street reform proposals are “weak tea” and there needs to be a modern version of Glass-Steagall. Messrs. Sanders and O’Malley come off as passive aggressive when attacking Clinton and often fail to connect many of the crony capitalism dots.
10:08: Sanders says it is easy to talk the talk about ending Citizens United but we need to show by example that we are prepared to not rely on large corporations and Wall Street for campaign contributions and “that’s what I’m doing.”
Sanders says everybody knows that Wall Street, the military industrial complex, etc. donate to candidates to get something in return. Hillary accuses Sanders of using his response to “impugn my integrity.” She then plays the gender card again and says 60% of her donors are women. Hillary tries to spin what she has done for Wall Street as helping Wall Street rebuild after 9/11 and it was a way to “rebuke” the 9/11 terrorists. She then says she would go after “all of Wall Street” and not just the big banks after any wrongdoing.
Sanders: Wall Street Not ‘Dumb’ for Donating So Much to Hillary
10:03: Sanders: Hillary answer “not good enough.” He asks why Wall Street has contributed so much to Clinton’s campaigns over the years. He points out that “maybe they are dumb…. but I don’t think so.”
10:01: In a question that Breitbart News Editor-at-Large and Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer could better ask, Dickerson asks how she could hold Wall Street accountable when so many of her donors are on Wall Street (the left has always distrusted the Clintons because of their ties to Wall Street cronyism). She just says to essentially trust her. “It’s pretty clear that they know I will” she says of random PACs running attacks against her.
9:58: Hillary says she does take seriously the concern economists have about how increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr would cause job losses. She says she favors a $12/hour minimum wage and states can/should go higher.
Sanders says, “oh, come on, now.”
9:56: O’Malley touts Maryland’s “living wage” and says that led to more innovation in Maryland. He is asked why he is calling for $15/hr now but stopped short at $10.10/hr when he was governor. O’Malley says that was the highest he could get through the legislature.
9:55: Sanders calls for a “living wage” over the next few years ($15/hour) and he apologizes to nobody. Sanders speaks about the high unemployment rates of African-American youth but makes no mention of how increasing immigration levels may make the problem worse as he has previously implied.
9: 53: Hillary is asked how she could “go further” than Obama on executive amnesty after the administration’s setback this week. She insists, according to her reading of the law and the Constitution and not the court’s, Obama has the “authority” to exercise his executive amnesty. She “any parent” would be “proud” of DREAMers and America should make it possible for illegal immigrants to come of of the shadows. No talk about the crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
9: 52: Democrats asked about immigration. O’Malley is asked if he is willing to compromise to focus on border security first to keep America face. O’Malley says that if more border/security and deportations were going to bring Republicans to the table, it would have happened a long time ago. He blasts Trump as an immigrant-bashing “carnival barker.” O’Malley says giving amnesty to illegal immigrants would raise wages even though illegal immigrants would then be competing with Americans for jobs.
9:48: Sanders says Obamacare is a step forward and “we gotta go further” and “end the international embarrassment” of the United States not guaranteeing health care as a “right” instead of a “privilege.”
He also said America must take on the pharmaceutical industry and he is proud that he was the first member of Congress to take Americans over the Canadian border to buy breast cancer drugs at 1/10 of the price.
9:46: Hillary says “it’s important” to defend Obamacare. She says she wants to build on and improve Obamacare and “tackle the tax issues.”
Sanders says he doesn’t know how high he would raise the tax rate but it wouldn’t be as high as “90%” as it was under Eisenhower — (even the left-leaning moderators laugh)–he says he is not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower. O’Malley says there are plenty of rich people “who love their country enough” to pay more taxes.
9:44: Sanders is asked how high his rate would go on top earners, he says in the last 30 years, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth that has gone in the wrong direction — trillion has gone from the middle class and working families to the top, he says. He says corporate loopholes should be ended so corporations don’t stash their money in the Cayman Islands… he says there should be a tax Wall Street speculation.
9:42: O’Malley says he raised sales taxes in Maryland by a penny and the top 14% of earners to pay more in income tax to enact his various programs. Says he is proud that college tuition at the state colleges did not go up in four years. Maybe that is why Maryland residents have been fleeing the state to tax-friendly states like Virginia. He says capital gains should be taxed the same way we tax incomes and rich people should pay a higher tax rate.
9: 40: Cordes asks Clinton about capping prescription drug costs, making public colleges debt free, making community college free, and and paid family leave. She says “it would not be the middle class” and says she would pay for it by “yes, taxing the wealthy more” and closing various loophole. She insists taxes won’t be raised on the middle class and all of this is still “fiscally responsible.” Clinton is not pressed on what programs she would cut or how much she would raise taxes, etc. Nobody has insisted that she is not good at math in a condescending tone like they did to Ben Carson during CNBC’s debate.
Hillary, O’Malley Still Want 65,000 Refugees Even After Paris Terror Attacks. Sanders Not Sure of ‘Magic Number.”
9:36: Dickerson asks Clinton how America should screen Syrian refugees. She said that is the top requirement and she also pushes for America to accept 65,000 refugees so long as they are screened. She says she doesn’t want to “inadvertently” allow people who want to do us harm to enter. She then pivots to talking about defense spending and challenges in the South China Sea, “problems with Russia,” and says all of this needs to be considered before cutting the military budget.
9:35: O’Malley says America should still accept 65,000 refugees even after “refugees” terrorized Paris on Friday evening.
9:33: Sanders says America has the “moral responsibility” with the Gulf Countries to reach out and accept refugees. But he doesn’t know what the “magic number” is but should take “full responsibility.”
9:32: When Dickerson asks Sanders about refugees, Sanders says America is spending hundreds of millions of dollars maintaining America’s nuclear arsenal instead of fighting terrorism.
“The Cold War is over,” he says.
9:30: Dickerson asks Clinton whether she would declare war on ISIS. She mentions that we have an authorization to use military force against terrorists and it covers this. But she says she would like to see it updated/upgraded. She says we have to prevent the flood of foreign fighters who have gone to Syria from coming back to the West.
Sanders and O’Malley against calling threat “radical Islam.”
9:28: Sanders says he doesn’t think “the term is what’s important”
O’Malley says calling it what it is is “radical Jihadis.” He says the Islamic terrorists are perverting the name of a “great world religion.”
9:26: Hillary Clinton Refuses to Say America at War With ‘Radical Islam’
Clinton is asked about whether America is at war with “radical Islam” or “all Muslims.” She says we are at war with “Jihadists.” She says you can talk about Islamists who are clearly also Jihadists (not necessarily true), but she says it is not particularly helpful to have Muslims thinking that someone running for president is saying they are “somehow against Islam.”
She says America is at war with “violent extremism” and people who use their religion for the purposes of power and oppression, but she doesn’t want to use “radical islam” and be “painting with too broad a brush.”
Breitbart’s Patrick Howley from Des Moines, Iowa:
DES MOINES – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton dodged a debate question about her own role in underestimating the terrorist group ISIS during her time as Secretary of State.
“I don’t think the United States has the bulk of the responsibility” for ISIS, Clinton said after a CBS moderator pressed her on the issue just one day after the ISIS-credited terrorist attacks in Paris. “I really put that on Assad and the Iraqis and the region.” Clinton explained that a trained Iraqi army was ready to defend its country when the U.S. left under President Obama, but that former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki “set about devastating it.”
Clinton also said that the fight against ISIS “cannot be an American fight…we will support those who take the fight to ISIS…this cannot be an American fight.”
But Sen. Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley slammed Clinton for her vote for the Iraq War.
“I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq….led to the rise of al qeda and to ISIS,” Sanders said, calling Iraq one of the “worst foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States.
“I think we have a disagreement, and the disagreement is not only did I vote against the war in Iraq…regime change…these invasions, these toppling of governments, regime changes, have unintended consequences,” Sanders said.
“I’m a little more conservative than the Secretary,” Sanders said of Clinton when it comes to regime change.
“This is a war for the soul of Islam,” Sanders added about the fight against ISIS in the Middle East.
“This actually is America’s fight,” O’Malley said in response to Clinton. “It can’t solely be America’s fight.”
9:21: Dickerson asks O’Malley if the world is too dangerous for someone without foreign policy experience. The mainstream press did not seem too concerned about someone without foreign policy experience when then-Sen. Barack Obama was running because they were in love with and cheerleading his anti-war views.
9:19: Dickerson presses Clinton on Libya and says it is an operation Clinton “championed.” Clinton claims she had a plan for the day after in Libya and bloviates in a way that the mainstream media loves because it sounds “professorial” and “scholarly” regardless of how substantive–or even factual–the comments are.
9:17: Clinton says the region is “complicated” and many of the fights are ones that America has not started or has a role in… she speaks about the “increasing globalization” without people having a safety valve. She talks about the “complexity of the world we’re facing.” Sanders says the Muslim nations have to get their “hands dirty” in a war that is for the “soul of Islam.” He says “we should be supportive of that effort” but “those Muslim countries are going to have to lead the effort.”
Clinton says Sanders’s comments are not fair to countries like Jordan that has taken in tons of refugees. She says Turkey and the Gulf nations need to make up their minds about whether they are going to stand with us against radicalism or not.
9:15: Sanders, when asked if he has any criticisms of Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department, he cites his vote against the war in Iraq and, sounding like a left-wing Berkeley professor in Birkenstocks, says that regime change, whether in Iran or Chile or Guatemala, has unintended consequences. He says he is more conservative than Clinton this issue.
9:13: Hillary says to put all this in context. Talks bout the Beirut bombings and the embassy bombings during her husband’s administration (when he was sleepwalking through history and bombing Aspirin factories) and “antecedents to what happened in Iraq and we have to continue to be vigilant about it.”
9:11: Sanders says he would argue that the “disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that i strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al-Qaeda and to ISIS.” Bernie doesn’t explicitly say that Clinton supported that war, though. He calls for an “international coalition” that includes Muslim nations that will have to fight for and defend their way of life.
Dickerson follows up in his PBS voice and wonders if he is making a direct link between Clinton’s Iraq vote and what is happening with ISIS. He says “I don’t believe any sensible person” would disagree thatt the invasion of Iraq led to the “massive level of instability that we are seeing right now,” and Iraq was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States.
This is a tricky debate–to say the least–for Democrats, especially in the state that gave rise to Barack Obama largely because of his anti-war campaign against Clinton. Sanders, O’Malley and Clinton do not seem the most reassuring during these times–just like many were glad that America had George W. Bush as president instead of Al Gore after the 9/11 attacks.
9:09: O’Malley says he disagrees with Clinton on the issue and this is “America’s fight” and America is best when America is “standing up to evil in this world.” He notes that ISIS has brought down a Russian airliner and attacked France. He says the great failing of the last 15 years has been the failure of human intelligence on the ground.
9:07 ET: Dickerson asks Clinton about Obama’s remarks an hour before the attacks that ISIS is not gaining strength. He asks whether she and the Obama administration underestimated ISIS. He doesn’t explicitly mention and the Obama/Clinton foreign policy created ISIS by botching the Iraq withdrawal.
Clinton says ISIS must not be contained but must be defeated. She adds that “this cannot be an American fight” though “American leadership is essential.”
Dickerson presses her on whether ISIS has been underestimated, and Hillary tries to blame it on George W. Bush. She claims that she pressed the administration to train more “moderates” to counterbalance Syrian President Assad. She says the United States “doesn’t have the bulk of the responsibility.”
9:05 PM ET: Opening Statements:
O’Malley: His heart goes out to the people of France “in this moment of loss.” He says this is the new face of conflict and warfare in the 20th century and we must be able to work collaboratively with others and anticipate threats before they happen.
Clinton: She says we need to have resolve to root out the radical Jihadist ideology that motivates terrorists. She says she will be laying out in detail what American needs to do with our friends and allies to “do a better job of coordinating efforts against the scourge of terrorism.”
Sanders: He said he was “shocked” and “disgusted” at what happened at America will help rid the world of the “barbaric” organization ISIS. He then pivots to his economic/income inequality stump speech and says his campaign is about a political revolution where millions of people stand up and say “enough is enough” and government doesn’t belong to a handful of billionaires.
9:00 PM ET: Debate moderator John Dickerson asks for a moment of silence (a very quick on at that) to honor the victims of the Paris terror attacks.