Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Hillary Clinton will debate tonight in Wisconsin as both try to court minority voters who will dominate the caucuses and primaries ahead. The debate will take place hours after a Washington Post revealed that the State Department subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation. PBS’s Judy Woodruff, who will moderate the debate with Gwen Ifill, donated to the Clinton Foundation. So it will be interesting to see if Clinton is grilled on today’s report.
Sanders, who tried his Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor on The View and ate boiled peanuts and drank beer with Stephen Colbert, has been getting better at using popular culture to get his message out. One can only wonder if Sanders will make a Scandal reference to reach young voters, particularly those on “Black Twitter,” who may be receptive to his message and may be watching the program as it returns (while monitoring their Twitter feeds) instead of the debate.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates throughout the evening.
CNN panelists wonder why the debate moderators cut off Sanders/Clinton when they were debating their ties/criticisms of Obama when there was plenty of time left in the debate.
10:53: Debate ends at 10:53, seven minutes before schedule.
Woodruff, who donated the Clinton Foundation, does not ask about Clinton’s email scandals and the Clinton Foundation subpoenas. Incredible that no question was asked about the subpoenas when it was arguably the biggest story of today’s news cycle. Why in the world does the RNC keep subjecting Republicans to mainstream media moderators who clearly want to protect Democrats and hurt Republicans?
10:51: Clinton says she and Sanders agree re: getting unaccountable money out of politics. Clinton says she is not a single-issue candidate and we do not live in a single-issue country. Clinton talks about “poison in the water” in Flint or poor miners in coal country (she is trying to cut into Sanders’s support among white w0rking-class voters). Clinton says she wants to fight for every American who feels put down by racism, sexism, discrimination against the LGBT community. She wants to stand up for unions (culinary union endorsement is key in Nevada). Clinton says that even if we were to stop the flow of big money into politics, “we would still have the indifference, the negligence we saw in Flint, we would still have racism holding people back, we would still have sexism preventing women from getting equal pay, we would still have LGBT people who get married on Saturday and fired on Monday, and we would still have governors like Scott Walker who are trying to rip out the heart of the middle class by making it impossible to organize and stand up for better wages and working conditions.”
Clinton’s best closing to date in appealing to all of the left’s interest groups. Sanders is often a one-trick pony in the debates. Clinton is too technocratic but her closing was one of her better moments in appealing to primary voters. Sanders won points on foreign policy by blasting Clinton for her friendship with Kissinger.
10:49: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate,” Sanders says before going into his concluding statement.
Sanders says there is no president who has the capability to take on Wall Street donors, the media, and the political establishment alone. He says his campaign is about creating a process for a “political revolution” where millions of Americans who have given up on the political process demand that we have a government that represents all of us instead of the one percent.
10:46: Clinton blasts Sanders for saying Obama failed the presidential leadership test. Sanders keeps coughing. Clinton says she could not disagree more with Sanders’s criticisms of Obama and says Obama doesn’t get enough credit for taking the country out of the recession. Clinton says she would expect such criticism from Republicans but not from Sanders.
Sanders: “Madam Secretary, that is a low blow.”
Sanders says he has worked with Obama for seven years but “we live in a Democratic society” and a Senator can disagree with the president, even one who Sanders said has done a good job. Sanders wonders if Clinton has ever disagreed with a president. But Clinton says calling for a primary opponent and “those kinds of personal assessment and charges are ones that I find particularly troubling.”
10:45: Clinton chooses Nelson Mandela and FDR.
10: 43: A Facebook questioner, a 40-year-old stay-at-home dad, asks the candidates to name two leaders, one American and one foreign, who would influence their decisions on foreign policy. Sanders cites FDR’s “freedom from fear” speech and says FDR redefined the role of government. He mostly cites FDR’s domestic legacy but the question was about foreign policy. Sanders then cites Winston Churchill for rallying the British people in wartime against the Nazi juggernaut.
10:41: Sanders says he went to a refugee camp and it was a “sad sight.” He says Turkey did a good job providing reasonable housing. Sanders says given America’s history as a “beacon of hope of the oppressed, downtrodden,” he disagrees with the GOP candidates who say we have to turn out back on the refugees. “This is not what America is about.” Sanders says there are wealthy countries in the Middle East also have a responsibility as well and the “entire world needs stop come together to deal with this horrific refugee crisis.”
10:40: Ifill asks Clinton about the European refugee crisis. Ifill never mentions that ISIS terrorists used the program to sneak terrorists into France. Clinton says that the United States should be willing to take refugees so long as they are “thoroughly vetted” and “we should be doing our part.” Clinton says this is a “humanitarian catastrophe” and America should support our allies in Europe and provide them financial/NATO support and take properly-vetted refugees.
10:38: Clinton says she will not meet with adversaries without conditions and that is the appropriate approach to take. Sanders says it is easy to talk to your friend but tougher to talk to you enemies and he believes we should do both.
10:33: Clinton says there will be terrorist groups on the door of Turkey, etc. even if there is a Syrian cease fire. Sanders says he and Clinton disagree re: the no-fly zone in Syria. He says there is a “humanitarian tragedy” there and hopes that in years to come, just like with Cuba (Sanders wants the trade embargo with Cuba to end), we can someday have “decent” relations with Iran. He says that is something he wants to achieve and the best way to achieve that is to be “aggressive” and “principled” but with the goal of getting decent relations.
Clinton “respectfully” disagrees and says the Iranian nuclear deal needs to be enforced and we should not promise or look toward normalizing relations because “we have a lot of business to get done with Iran.” She says they can’t be the primary state-sponsor of terrorism, keep causing chaos in the Middle East, continue sending rockets into Gaza, and supporting Hamas/Hezbollah.
10:31: Woodruff asks Sanders about Russia. He says “it is a complicated relationship,” when asked if Russia is getting the better of the United States. Sanders says Putin needs to know that his aggressiveness is not going to go unmatched. He says he thinks Putin is acting aggressively because his economy is in shamble and we must protect Eastern Europe against Russian aggression.
Sanders ‘Proud’ Henry Kissinger Not His Friend, Vows He’ll Never Take Foreign Policy Advice from Him
10:23: Clinton says that Sanders voter for a “regime-change” resolution in 1998. She claims Sanders voter for regime change in Libya. She says a “vote in 2002” is not a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. Clinton says that when people of to vote, they are also voting for a Commander-in-Chief and people look hard at what the threats/dangers we face are. Clinton says Obama was against the war in Iraq but turned to her and trusted her judgment when he won and asked her to be his Secretary of State.
Sanders says Clinton has enormous experience in foreign affairs but “judgment matters as well.” He says he and Clinton looked at the same evidence re: Iraq and he led the opposition while she voted for it. Clinton again going into the weeds re: U.N Security Council resolution hardly anybody has heard of. Clinton plays the bin Laden card and says she is proud she gave Obama advice to take out bin Laden.
Sanders says she and Clinton have a “profound difference” re: Henry Kissinger. He says he finds it amazing because he believes that Kissinger was one of the most destructive Secretaries of State. Sanders says he is proud that Kissinger is not his friend and will not take any advice for him. He blasts Kissinger’s Cambodia policy and blames him for Pol Pot/Cambodian genocide.
Clinton says that Sanders has not revealed who he listens to for foreign policy advice and he responds, “It ain’t Henry Kissinger, that’s for sure.”
Clinton says she listens to a diverse group of people for foreign policy advice because “it’s a big, complicated world out there.”
Sanders is winning this round with the left-wing base. Sanders says Kissinger spoke of the domino theory during the Vietnam War and after the war, he opened up relations with China and pushed various types of trade agreements resulting in Americans losing their jobs as corporations moved to China. “Not my kind of guy,” Sanders says.
10:20: Sanders says that a president’s major responsibility is to make sure we keep Americans safe, work with allies around the world to protect Democratic values, do all that we can do create a world of peace and prosperity.
He says he voted against the Iraq War because he didn’t believe Messrs. Bush/Cheney. He says he helped lead the opposition to that war and much of what he feared would happen did happen. Sanders says that he and Clinton disagree on regime change and a powerful nation like the United States can overthrow dictators all over the world. But Sanders says the point about foreign policy is not just know that you can overthrow a terrible dictator but to understand what happens the day after. He blasts Clinton creating a political vacuum in Libya and strengthening ISIS. Sanders says this is nothing new and this has gone on for 50-60 years. He speaks about Mosaddegh and unintended consequences, sounding like a left-wing Berkeley professor.
10:16: Ifill asks Clinton about America’s role in the world. She says that more than two-thirds of Democrats are concerned about sending their children to fight wars they can’t win and worried about terrorist attacks. Clinton says we have made a lot of improvements in our domestic security since 9/11 but attacks like the San Bernardino terror attacks show there is more to be done. Clinton says we have to lead a coalition to take back territory from ISIS, support the Arab/Kurd fighters on the ground, continue to work with the Iraqi army, and cut off the flow of foreign funding to foreign fighters while taking on ISIS online. Clinton says “if you see something, say something” but says American Muslims “should be welcomed within the American society.” She blasts Trump for stirring up “demagoguery against American Muslims.” She says that is “dangerous” and “offensive” at home/abroad.
10:14: Sanders is asked if there are any areas of government he would like to reduce? Sanders says there is a lot of waste, abuse in government and says he believes in “efficient” and not “wasteful government.”
Clinton says a lot of training/education programs are duplicative and could be streamlined. She says she would like to take a hard look at every part of the federal government.
Sanders says we have to look at the waste/abuse in the Department of Defense–music to the ears of leftists.
10:06: “Let’s not insult the intelligence of the American people,” Sanders says. “People are not dumb.”
He asks, “why does Wall Street make huge contributions? Just for the fun it. They just want to throw money around.”
He says the pharmaceutical, fossil-fuels industry make huge contributions to influence lawmakers. Sanders says Dodd-Frank doesn’t go far enough and says Wall Street have paid $200 billion in fines but nobody has been prosecuted.
Clinton says she has made it clear that “no bank is too big to fail and no executive is too powerful to jail,” repeating something she always says on the stump.
10:05: Clinton says the real issue that Sanders is injecting is that if you take donations from Wall Street, you can’t be independent. She says Obama’s Super PAC is now supporting her. Clinton says Obama received the most donations from Wall Street but still passed Dodd-Frank. She says Sanders should not imply that she would not take on vested interests like Wall Street, drug companies, etc.
10:02: Woodruff asks Clinton about large donations from those like George Soros. Woodruff asks that since Clinton has insisted there is no quid pro quo, does the same standard apply to Republicans who receive money from the Koch brothers. Clinton talks up her small-dollar donations and says she will fight the Koch brothers agenda and Republicans who will be dependent on them.
Woodruff asks Sanders if Democratic donors are different from GOP donors. Sanders says the whole campaign finance system is corrupt and is undermining democracy. He rails against Super PACs.
9:59: Clinton wants to tax “passive income” of the wealthy to add more funds to the Social Security trust fund. She says the people who are hardest hit under the current system are widows who can lose up to half their benefits if their spouses die. And Clinton says her plans will focus more on vulnerable women. Sanders says “with all due respect, a lot of the progressive groups” have asked her if she is coming on board re: raising Social Security taxes. Clinton says they are in “vigorous agreement” about getting more revenue into the Social Security trust fund. She says she wants to get the “maximum amount of revenue” from those who can provide it in a lawyerly answer that says absolutely nothing.
9:58: Sanders is asked about low-income seniors. He says you judge a nation by how you treat the most fragile. He says by that standard, “we’re not doing particularly well.” He says America has one of the highest childhood poverty rates and there are millions of seniors who are trying to get by on $11-13k/yr on Social Security. Sanders wants to lift the cap on Social Security taxes and wants to expand Social Security and “a great nation like ours should not be in a position where elderly people are cutting their pills in half, don’t have great nutrition, and can’t heat their homes in the winter time.”
Sanders: I’ll Use Executive Orders to Grant Citizenship to All Illegal Immigrants
9:49: Sanders says he would go further than Obama on executive amnesty and says “yes” when asked if illegal immigrants in Nevada should rest easy/ not fear that they will be deported. Sanders says he believes that comprehensive immigration reform needs to be passed and we have to move toward a path to citizenship. He agrees with Obama’s use of executive orders to enact amnesty. Sanders says he wants to “bring families together, not divide them up” re: his immigration agenda. Sanders says he will use executive orders to grant a path to citizenship for all of the country’s illegal immigrants.
Clinton says she agrees with Obama’s executive amnesty. She says Sanders voted against comprehensive immigration reform in 2007 while she voted for it. Sanders, it is worth noting, voted against it because of the impact it would have on wages. But he no longer talks about that. He says he voted against it because the guest-worker programs in that bill were “akin to slavery.” He says LULAC, the AFL-CIO, and the Southern Poverty Law Center opposed comprehensive amnesty legislation in 2007. Sanders says we “have to stand up to the Trumps of the world” who are trying to divide us.
Sanders points out that Clinton said illegal immigrant children who were flooding across the border in a story that Breitbart Texas broke should be sent back. Clinton now claims she “made it very clear” that those children needed to be processed quickly but there needed to be a message sent to Central American families to not send their children on their harrowing journey.
Clinton says the 2007 comprehensive amnesty bill was “Ted Kennedy’s bill” and Sanders says he worked with Ted Kennedy but he doesn’t apologize for the vote.
Re: illegal immigrant children from Central America, Sanders asks Clinton, “who are you sending a message to?” He says Clinton should not use the children to send a message.
Clinton debates as if viewers are watching with a scorecard, checking off various nuances. Again, way too in weeds and too much hair-splitting.
9:47: Sanders says wages for high-school graduates have decreased due to disastrous trade deals. But he doesn’t talk about the impact of immigration on wages like he used to do because he needs the Latino vote in Nevada. He says there is “massive despair” because of terrible trade deals because Americans are making half of what they used to make while their children are finding it difficult to find jobs.
9:43: Ifill wants to talk about white people. A loaded question. First, she slams Milwaukee for being racially polarized. She then asks whether working-class white people, due to early death rates, have a reason to be resentful as minorities make up a majority of many school districts, etc. Clinton says she has a plan to revitalize coal country (but she also talks incessantly about climate change and green energy). She says coal miners are wondering if people have forgotten about their sacrifices. She says she particularly appreciates Cleburn’s proposal to spend more money in communities with consistent generational poverty. She says there are just as many white communities that are being left behind in today’s economy and it would be an oversight to forget about working-class white Americans without college degrees who are being left behind.
.@HillaryClinton answer about race relations cites “the dark side of the remaining systemic racism that we have to root out in our society”
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) February 12, 2016
9:41: Sanders rails against “institutional racism” and an economy where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. He says African-Americans make up a lot of the poor and he will create millions of jobs for low-income kids instead of tax breaks for billionaires. He says if you give low-income minority kids the opportunity to get their lives together, they will do so
.@HillaryClinton answer about race relations cites “the dark side of the remaining systemic racism that we have to root out in our society”
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) February 12, 2016
9:39: Clinton, when asked what she would do to make race relations better under her administration than under Obama, says she disagrees that race relations have not gotten better under Obama. Clinton says there have been a lot of advances under Obama since Obamacare has helped African-Americans. She says there has been a lot more social media and “we are seeing the dark side of the remaining system racism that we have to root out of society.” She says Obama has set a great example and addressed a lot of the issues and we have to have an honest conversation about where to go next. She says Obama exemplified the importance of this issue and “we can’t rest.” She says it will be her responsibility to “make sure we move forward to solve these problems.” She says she will use the Justice Department to “change policing practices” and enforce the law.
9:35: Clinton mentioned that she discussed criminal justice reform during her first campaign speech this cycle at Columbia. She says we have to go after sentencing at the state and local levels. She says there are other examples of “systemic racism” in education/employment in states like Wisconsin and other states throughout the nation where young men are pushed out of school early and denied employment opportunities. She says we have to talk about education, housing and other ways of helping communities when discussing criminal justice reform.
Sanders blasts mandatory sentencing and says he disagrees with nothing that Clinton said. Sanders says police departments need to be “demilitarized” and “look like the communities they serve in diversity.” He says there is a “high rate of recidivism” because people are being released without the resources they need to get their lives back together. Sanders America will not have more people in jail than any other country when he is president.
9:34: Sanders says issues concerning the broken criminal justice system cannot be swept under the rug. He says an African-American baby being born today has a one-in-four chance of being incarcerated. He says blacks and whites smoke marijuana equally but four times as many blacks get arrested for it. He says sentencing for blacks re: traffic offenses is four times as high for blacks than whites. Sanders says we are “sick and tired seeing videos on television of unarmed African-Americans being shot by police officers.” He says any police officer who breaks the law will be held accountable.
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) February 12, 2016
9:32: Sanders says Republicans are hypocritical because Republicans want the government to prevent women from having abortions.
From Breitbart’s Joel Pollak: Bernie Sanders: Don’t Let ‘the Trumps of the World Divide Us’
9:28: Ifill asks Sanders if he worries that he will be the instrument that thwarts history and prevents Hillary from becoming the first woman president. Sanders says that he has spent his entire life taking on big-money interests and his victory would be a historic accomplishment as well.
Hillary, who just last week said she should not be considered “establishment” because she is a women, now says she is not asking anyone to vote for her because she is a woman.
9:25: Clinton says she has worked her whole life to make sure women are empowered to make their own choices even if it is not voting for her when asked why women supported Sanders in New Hampshire and what they are missing about her. She says she hopes there will be a lot more women supporting her at the end of the campaign.
Woodruff asks Clinton about Albright’s quote re: “special place in hell” for women who don’t support other women. Clinton says she’s been saying that for 25 years and regarding issues like equal pay and paid family leave, “we still have some barriers to knock down, which is why that is at the very core of my campaign.” Clinton says there have been around 200 presidential primary debates and this is the first time women have made up a majority of those on stage.
Woodruff says Sanders is in the minority and asks him to respond. He says he is fighting for every vote–women, straight, gay, African-American, Latino, Asian-Americans, etc. He says he has a lifetime 100% pro-choice voting record and “I am very proud over the years we have had the support in my state of Vermont of very strong majorities of women.” He says he supports legislation to close the gender gap re: wages.
9:22: Sanders says Wall Street should bail out the middle class. Clinton says she is for debt-free tuition but she disagrees with Sanders on a few points. Clinton says Sanders’s plan will force Governors like Scott Walker to spend millions to make public education free and she is “skeptical” that those like Walker will do so.
Sanders says working-class kids deserve a free education like rich kids. He says free tuition at universities should be “a right” for all Americans.
9:18: Ifill asks Clinton if it is fair for Americans who fear government to fear her. “No,” she says. But she says it is fair for Americans to vet all of the programs that the candidates are proposing. She says her proposals are specific and can be vetted. She says there is a “skepticism” of the federal government and “we have a special obligation to make clear we stand for” which is why “we shouldn’t make promises we can’t keep.” She implies that Sanders’s proposals will alienate more people and make them distrust government even more.
Clinton says her price tag is $100 billion/year for her policy proposals. She says she will “tax the wealthy” to fund them.
“Secretary Clinton, you’re not in the White House yet,” Sanders says. He says that all of his programs are paid for.
9:13: Clinton says Sanders will increase the size of the federal government by 40%. She says that Sanders’s claim that middle-class families will pay $500 more in taxes for thousands of dollars in healthcare benefits does not add up and it’s a promise that he cannot keep.
Sanders says “let us level with the American people.” He says Clinton is accusing him of wanting to dismantle Obamacare, but he says that 29 million people have no health insurance today and middle-income families will pay $500 more in taxes and get a reduction in their healthcare costs by $5,000.
Clinton says they both share the goal of universal healthcare coverage. She says she is a “staunch supporter” of Obamacare. She says the American people deserve to know specifically how this will work.
“The numbers don’t add up,” she says. “And many people will be worse off than they are now.” Sanders says that is not accurate.
Clinton says the last thing we need is to “throw our country into a contentious debate” about healthcare. She says we are not England, France. Clinton is trying to be the defender of Obama’s accomplishments/legacy but is way too in the weeds.
9:11: Woodruff says many voters are taking a closer look at Sanders. She asks how much larger would government be under a Sanders presidency.
He says that in the last 30 years of this country, there ha been a massive transfer of wealth from working families to the 1/10 of one percent. He talks up his Medicare for All proposal and his “free public college for all” program. He blasts the country’s infrastructure and the real unemployment rate (10%). Sanders says there will be a “limit” on the size of government but the government has a “moral responsibility” to make sure all Americans have a “decent standard of living.”
9:10: And just like that, PBS takes a break and goes to commercial.
9:07: “I’m running for president to knock down all the barriers that are holding Americans back and rebuild the ladders of opportunity,” she says.
She says she knows that a lot of people are angry about the economy, which Clintons says is “rigged.” I wonder if the moderators will ask her if the economy is rigged in favor of those like Clinton and those who donated to the Clinton Foundation.
She says we need to get unaccountable money out of the political system. Clinton says she wants to go further to target barriers against African-Americans. She says immigrants should be brought out of the shadows. And women should get equal pay. She’s checking off all of the interest group boxes.
9:04: Sanders said his campaign had no political organization, money, name recognition nine months ago. “A lot has happened in nine months,” he says. He says the American people have responded to a “series of basic truths.” He again rails against a campaign finance system that is “corrupt” and is “undermining” democracy. He again talks about a “rigged economy.” He pivots to the “broken criminal justice system” where more people are in jail than in any country on earth. He talks about kids getting arrested for marijuana while executives on Wall Street pay billions in settlements and get no prosecution/criminal records. He says his campaign is indicating that the American people are “tried of establishment politics, tired of establishment economics” and want a “political revolution” and “not let the Trumps of the world divide us.”
9:03: Woodruff goes over the debate rules and Sanders/Clinton give their opening statements.
9:00 PM: Ifill and Woodruff take the stage and introduce Sanders and Clinton.