As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gains on Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democrats will have their final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Sunday evening in South Carolina.
Clinton and her surrogates have attacked Sanders on gun control and health care in recent weeks as enthusiasm for Clinton’s candidacy has waned.
Clinton will likely sharpen her attacks against Sanders tonight and may show Sanders what a politician who wants to actually win the nomination looks like. It will be interesting to see if Sanders finally draws sharp contrasts with Clinton tonight and attacks her ties to Wall Street while raising questions about her husband’s alleged sexual indiscretions and whether Hillary played a role in covering them up and silencing her husband’s victims. It was Sanders, after all, who inexplicably blunted his campaign’s momentum in the summer when he gave Clinton a pass on her email scandal, declaring to the nation that the American people are “sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”
South Carolina gave Barack Obama the momentum he needed in 2008 after Clinton defeated Obama in New Hampshire. Eight years later, Clinton is hoping the Palmetto State can be a crucial firewall for her if she does indeed loses Iowa and New Hampshire to a surging Sanders. Though Sanders fares better than Clinton among left-wing white voters, Clinton dominates with minority voters who become crucial after Iowa and New Hampshire.
NBC’s Lester Holt and Andrea Mitchell will moderate the
lovefest debate at 9PM EST in another debate scheduled to attract as few viewers as possible and hide their weak presidential field that is completely devoid of diversity.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will also participate.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates.
The media can gush about how “substantive” the debate was. But the moderators treated Clinton with white gloves and Sanders did not do anything to potentially dent Clinton’s support among minority voters. O’Malley did nothing to remain relevant. Clinton isn’t damaged and nothing changes in the race. Exactly what DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz and the mainstream press wanted.
10:54PM: And that’s a wrap, folks. The GOP debate usually goes overtime, while Democrats have seen their debates end early.
10:49: Candidates are asked if there is something they wanted but could not discuss tonight. O’Malley regrets that “immigration reform” has not been discussed.
Hillary says she spent a lot of time last week being “outraged” by what happened in Flint, Michigan. She says the majority poor/African-American population has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water. She blasts Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for not caring and stonewalling risks for help. She says if kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water, there would have been action.
This type of answer is why Clinton is the least offensive candidate to minority voters in a race where none of the candidates resonate with them.
Sanders piggybacks and says Snyder should not stay in power. He then says that very little is going to be done to “transform our economy and create the middle class that we need” unless the campaign finance system is reformed. There he goes again on an issue that will not resonate that much with primary voters.
10:45: Sanders is asked whether he regrets saying Bill Clinton’s past transgressions were “totally, totally disgraceful and unacceptable.” Sanders says “that question annoys me” and he cannot walk down the street without being told how much he has to attack Secretary Clinton. He says he is trying to run an issue-oriented campaign. He says Bill’s behavior was “deplorable” but says he wants to debate Clinton/O’Malley on the issues facing the American people and not Bill Clinton’s behavior.
Sanders could argue to progressives that Hillary could lose political capital–like Bill did in the 1990s–if there are more transgressions and that is a gamble that progressive cannot take. But timid Bernie is afraid to hammer that point or make cogent arguments to give liberal primary voters some doubt about casting their votes for Clinton.
10:43: Holt asks Clinton how Bill will advise her on the economy. She says “it will start at the Kitchen table and we’ll see how it goes from there.” She praises the Clinton economy and says “you bet, I’m going to ask for his ideas. I’m going to ask for his advice.”
Clinton can’t make the argument that having Bill around will revive the country’s economy without being vulnerable to the argument that Bill will bring back all the baggage/cronyism/drama. But nobody on the stage is making that point.
Once again, Sanders says that one cannot have change with an administration stacked with Wall Street appointees but does not directly attack the Clinton cabinet.
10:39: Clinton says America’s “first line of defense against lone-wolf attacks is among Muslim-AMericans, and it is not only shameful but it is dangerous for the kinds of comments you’re hearing from the Republican side.”
“We need to be reaching out and unifying our country against terrorist attacks… and working with Muslim-Americans,” she says.
When Mitchell points out to Clinton that Obama administration officials were turned down by Silicon Valley, she says, “that is not what I heard, and I’ll leave it at that.”
O’Malley, desperately trying to get attention, says if Donald Trump wants a registry, he will be the first to sign up.
Sanders chimes in and slams the $600 billion military budget that continues to fight the old Cold War with the Soviet Union.
10:36: Holt asks Sanders about how he would fight homegrown, lone wolves from committing terrorism.
Sanders says that private companies and the government have too much private information and Americans should be concerned about private companies as well. He says that public policy has not caught up with the explosion of technology.
On the homegrown terrorism question, Sanders says Silicon Valley must help the government and can do so without violating the constitutional rights of Americans.
10:35: YouTube questioner asks candidates whether government should have back-door access to technology programs in the name of national security.
O’Malley says the federal government should get a warrant whether they want to come through your back door or front door. He wants to secure “our right to be secure in our homes” and the right to expect the federal government should get a warrant.
10:30: Holt asks Clinton about the “reset” button she gave Russia and whether she would give Putin one. Clinton says it would depend on what she got for it. She actually tries to defend the administration’s “reset” with Russia. She says that when Putin came back in the fall of ’11, it was clear he came back “with a mission” and she began to speak out.
Clinton says her relationship with Putin is “interesting.” She says they have had “tough dealings.” She says “we have to be more united in preventing Putin from” being more aggressive in Eastern Europe.
10:26: Mitchell asks Clinton about Obama’s “red line” in Syria. Clinton says Obama’s decision to “go after the chemical weapons” resulted in a “positive outcome.” Clinton says she wants to add that the U.S. had a “big interest” in trying to stabilize the region and blames Syria’s Assad and the Prime Minister of Iraq.
Sanders says America’s first priority is to get rid of ISIS, followed by getting rid of Assad. He says America should bring together even Russia and Iran to destroy ISIS.
O’Malley, sounding like Orrin Hatch after 9/11, again talks about the need for human intelligence on the ground.
Neither Holt nor Mitchell press Clinton on criticisms that her foreign policy created ISIS and underestimated its threat.
10:20: Mitchell asks Clinton whether she wants more troops on the ground in Syria. Clinton robotically says she has a “three-point plan” to prevent having to deploy ground troops in Syria.
Sanders says this is an “incredibly complicated and difficult issue.” He says sending in ground troops would be an “unmitigated disaster.” He calls Jordan King Abdullah one of the “heroes in an un-heroic place.”
O’Malley blasts the term “boots on the ground.”
Mitchell asks Sanders whether Clinton/Obama created a vacuum in Syria. Sanders has a chance to go after Clinton but again defends her, saying “no.” He could have raised questions bout Clinton’s judgment. Instead, Sanders says the Iraq War created the vacuum. But he could have hammered home the point that Clinton voted for that war, but he does not. Sanders says “incredibly wealthy” countries in the Middle East need to start putting in more skin in the game.
10:16: Sanders wants “warm relations:” with Iran. Mitchell asks Sanders about the Iran nuclear deal. He says though Iran’s behavior is something we disagree with, the deal is a “very positive step.” Sanders says the goal has to be, as America has done with Cuba, to have “warm relations” with Iran. How naive.
Clinton says she is “very proud” of the Iran deal. She falsely claims Iran has been following the agreement.
The candidates and the hosts do not mention the American sailors the Iranians forced to their knees and issue an apology.
10:13: NBC’s Chuck Todd, being the company man, says the debate has lived up the billing. It may have if debate watchers score points re: obscure policy details. But the truth of the matter is Sanders has not come close to damaging Clinton with minority voters and, as a result, the debate, so far, has done nothing to change the landscape. Sanders could bring up, for instance, the harm Clinton did with his criminal justice agenda and ask whether Hillary go back to that playbook once she is actually elected, etc. Sanders just seems like someone who is in his own zone and doesn’t seem to realize that Clinton is his OPPONENT in the race.
So far, the most effective attack has been the one Clinton leveled against Sanders re: his criticism of Obama, obviously a beloved figure among black Democrats who will determine whether Sanders remains viable after New Hampshire.
10:08: Sanders claims “the debate is over” on climate change and blasts the GOP that is so owned by the fossil-fuel industry for “not having the courage” and the “decency” to listen to the scientists even though the science is hardly settled. He claims that Trump believes climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, who, along with nations like India, are strangely exempt from many of the international rules and regulations re: “climate change.”
10:02 PM: Mitchell asks Sanders how he would pay for all of his proposals like Medicare for all and free college tuition for all. Sanders says “I plead guilty” to wanting every kid in the country to go to a public college or university tuition-free. He says he would pay for it with a tax on Wall Street speculation and it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle class after causing the recession.
Clinton the wonk points out that she has documented how she would pay for all of her proposals. She claims she is the only candidate who will not raise on the Middle Class. And she wants the wealthy to pay for debt-free tuition. Again, it seems like socialist Sanders is on stage to make pretty radical Clinton look more centrist.
Mitchell goes into the weeds of Sanders’s proposal that hardly any American has probably read because Sanders released it just two hours ago. Minutiae and minutiae and more minutiae just helps Clinton run out the clock and not get knocked out before Iowans vote.
10:OO PM: Sanders again says it is interesting that Goldman Sachs executives have not been prosecuted while kids who possess marijuana have been. He points out that Clinton has received $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, but Sanders’s attacks are too academic and he a bit passive-aggressive. He doesn’t go directly for the jugular against Clinton like she has done with him.
9:53: Laughingly, Clinton says there is no daylight between her and Sanders on ties to Wall Street, banks, etc. She says there is no daylight re: “no bank too big to fail” and “no individual too powerful to jail.” She points out that Sanders has criticized Obama for taking donations from Wall Street and points out that Sanders has called Obama “weak and disappointing.” She says that Sanders even wanted someone to primary Obama in 2012. Say what you want about Clinton, but she is a political animal, and it is good political strategy to point out to Obama’s core supporters that Sanders has criticized him in the past. It ensures Sanders does not get the level of support from black voters that Sanders needs to even have a chance to defeat Clinton.
Clinton says his “profusion” of feelings about Obama is strange given what Sanders said in 2012. O’Malley is heard saying “it’s just not true. Oh, come on!” as Clinton touts her Wall Street reform plan and insists there is no daylight between the candidates on Wall Street reform.
O’Malley says that his plan would put the cops back on the beat in Wall Street and calls Clinton out for bringing up the 9/11 victims to defend her cozy ties to Wall Street.
9:51: Sanders: I don’t get “personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.”
Sanders is asked what the difference is between he and Clinton on bank regulations. Sanders says he doesn’t get “personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.”
9:46: Candidates are asked how they will get the “youth vote.”
Clinton talks about her plans to make college more affordable, help students pay off their college debt, making community college free, etc. She Republicans are assaulting civil rights, gay rights, women’s rights, voting rights, worker’s rights. She says young people value their independence, autonomy and rights.
When asked why Sanders is beating her two-to-one among young voters, Clinton punts and say that she hopes to have their support when she is the Democratic nominee.
9:42: Holt asks Sanders how he will win a general election as a “Democratic Socialist.” Sanders says we “need a 50-state strategy” so that people in South Carolina, Mississippi can get the resources they need. Sanders says we need an agenda that speaks to the needs to working families and low-income people and not to campaign donors. He says he is very proud that in his campaign that he is seeing so much excitement from young people and working people.
O’Malley jumps in and says neither Clinton nor Sanders campaigned for Vincent Shaheen in South Carolina. O’Malley, the political plodder, realized this election cycle that it doesn’t really matter if one gets endorsements from various local officials when one’s uninspiring campaign message/delivery does not resonate with primary voters.
9:30: Mitchell asks Clinton whether it is fair to say that Sanders wants to kill Obamacare. It’s strange that Clinton has attacked Sanders for wanting to go further to the left than Obama on healthcare and used Chelsea Clinton to make that attack. Clinton says the “details really matter” on healthcare and that is why she has been raising questions about the nine bills that Sanders have introduced. She says she believes that Democrats since Harry Truman have worked to get the Affordable Care Act passed and she doesn’t want to see Republicans repeal it and start over it. She says she wants to defend Obamacare and improve it.
Sanders says Clinton didn’t answer your question. He says it is “nonsense” that Clinton is attacking him on healthcare because Medicare for all would ensure that healthcare is a right for every American. Sanders says he was on the committee that wrote Obamacare and “right now, what we have to deal with is that 29 million people still do not have health insurance” while Americans are paying the highest for prescription drugs and spending the most on health care.
Clinton says Obamacare is “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, the Democratic Party, and our country.” Sanders says that nobody is “tearing” Obamacare apart and points out that Clinton did not mention that so many Americans are underinsured with huge copayments, etc. He says the vision for FDR/Truman was healthcare as a right in a cost-effective way.
Mitchell asks Sanders why Vermonters rejected single-payer healthcare because it would require too much taxes and Sanders again talks about campaign finance, which his crutch about why things are wrong in the country.
Sanders says that Mitchell/Clinton are missing the main point that Republicans and Democrats hate each other in Congress. He says that is a mythology created by the media and he has a point as establishment Republicans and Democrats agree on things like amnesty legislation, etc. and hate politicians who stand up for voters. He points out the main problem is that lobbyists control Congress instead of voters.
9:25: Holt asks Clinton about the heroin epidemic in a question that will surely help her with New Hampshire voters. She says that wherever she goes to campaign, she is meeting people who have been impacted by opioids/heroin. She cites her plan for a “comprehensive approach” on drugs. She says police must be equipped with the heroin antidote and drug use should not be treated as a crime and instead be treated as health issue.
Sanders says he “agrees with everything the Secretary says” and says the pharmaceutical industry is also responsible for producing the drugs. Sanders says we need a revolution re: mental health treatment.
9: 22: Holt mentions that “Black Lives Matter” was the top trending issue in South Carolina and asks O’Malley to respond to those who say his “tough on crime” policies as mayor contributed to the Baltimore riots. O’Malley does his best to punt, but the reality is O’Malley record as mayor of Baltimore has prevented him from getting the support of black voters that he desperately needed to even give Clinton a run for her money.
Franchesca Ramsey on YouTube says there is a “huge conflict of interest” when local prosecutors investigate incidents of policy brutality in their community and asks Sanders how he would ensure those prosecutions are fair. Sanders did not completely hear the question and answers after Holt reads the question. He says the U.S. Justice Department must get involved “whenever anybody in this country is killed while in policy custody.” He says it should “automatically trigger a U.S. Attorney General’s investigation.”
9:19: Holt asks Sanders to respond to the Congressional Black Caucus Chair saying it was not a hard decision to endorse Clinton over Sanders. Holt asks Sanders how he can be the nominee when Clinton beats him two-to-one with minorities. Sanders points out that Sanders was at 3% when the campaign started and the race is tightening in Iowa/New Hampshire. He says he is running ahead of Clinton in taking on “his good friend Donald Trump.” He says when the African-American community becomes familiar with his congressional record, agenda, and views on criminal justice reform, they will become more supportive of his candidacy.
9:16: Clinton blasts ‘Systemic Racism in our Criminal Justice System.’
Clinton is asked about the Walter Scott incident and Holt says it plays straight into the fears of African-American men that “their lives are cheap.” Holt asks whether that is perception or reality. Clinton responds, “sadly, that’s reality. It has been heartbreaking and incredibly outraging to see the constant stories of young men like Walter Scott… who have been killed by police officers. There needs to a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system.” Clinton says that black men are arrested, convicted. and incarcerated for offenses that do not lead to the same results for white men. “We have a very serious problem that we can no longer ignore,” says Clinton, who had to apologize for saying “all lives matter.”
Sanders, trying to resonate with minorities, asks who is satisfied that America disproportionally jails Blacks/Latinos. He asks who is satisfied when millions have police records for possessing marijuana when Wall Street CEOs who destroyed America’s economy have no records.
9:10: Holt asks Sanders why he changed his position on immunity from lawsuits for gun manufacturers. Sanders says Clinton is “disingenuous” because he has a D- rating from the NRA. Sanders says he has supported instant background checks from day one and says it should be a “federal crime if people act as straw men” re: gun purchases/sales. He says that as a Senator from a rural state with virtually no gun control, he can bring people together on the issue. Holt presses him on why he changed his position, and Sanders gives a roundabout answer highlighting some sensible aspects of the bill giving immunity to gun manufacturers.
Clinton pounces on Sanders, ready for the attack. She’s always prepared and ruthless, unlike Sanders. She says Sanders voted for the “Charleston loophole,” voted with the NRA, voted against the Brady Bill five times, voted for immunity for gun makers and sellers, voted to let guns go onto Amtrak, guns go into national parks.” She says 90 people a day die from gun violence and cites the South Carolina tragedy. She says there is “no other industry in America that was given a total pass that gun makers and dealers were, and that needs to be reversed.”
O’Malley is asked what he would say to Democrats in the South who worry that Democrats will take their guns. This questions would be better for Hillary Clinton and not for irrelevant O’Malley. O’Malley says both Clinton and Sanders have been inconsistent on gun control and he is the only one who has brought people together to pass comprehensive gun control legislation in Maryland.
9:08: Holt asks the candidates for their top three priorities in their first 100 days.
Sanders says his first days will be about bringing America together to end the decline of the middle class, make the wealthy pay their “fair share” of taxes, and have a government that works for all.
Clinton, speaking robotically and like a Senator, says she would work quickly to present to Congress her plans to create more good jobs and equal pay for women’s work, etc. She says she will present her plans to build on Obamacare and improve it. She says she will be working to bring our country together because we have “too much division” and “too much mean-spiritidness.” She uses her time to appeal to Hispanics/blacks by throwing in “immigration reform” and “voting rights.”
O’Malley says he would lay out an agenda to make wages go up for all Americans and make it easier for Americans to join unions and pass comprehensive immigration reform. He says “climate change” is the best business opportunity to come to America in 100 years. He says America needs a “new agenda for America’s cities.”
O’Malley and Clinton just don’t sound like regular people in these debates.
9:03 PM EST: Opening Statements
Clinton talks about her youth minister taking her to see Martin Luther King and says he remembers that King fought against income inequality in Memphis.
Bernie wants more “transformation.” Sanders says that as we honor Dr. King, it is important that “we continue to his vision to transform our country.” Sanders speaks about an economy that is rigged in which “ordinary Americans work longer for lower wages” and where income goes to the top 1%. He speaks about a corrupt campaign finance system and says “this campaign is about a political revolution not only to elect a president but to transform this country.”
O’Malley thanks South Carolina for teaching Americans that “love would have the final world when you took down the Confederate flag from your statehouse.” O’Malley says in order to make good on the promise of equal opportunity and equal justice under the law, we have urgent work to do.” He blasts the “voices of anger, fear and division” coming from the GOP.
According to Google Trends, here are the top trending questions on each of three Democrats leading up to the debate:
- Why is Bernie Sanders so Popular?
- Can Bernie Sanders win?
- How old is presidential candidate Bernie Sanders?
- Will Hillary Clinton Get Prosecuted?
- Will Hillary Clinton win the nomination?
- What did Hillary do that is illegal?
- Why is Martin O’Malley running for president?
- Martin O’Malley was governor of which state?
- Is Martin O’Malley still running for president?