***Live Updates*** Clinton, Sanders Debate in Flint, Michigan

Alex Wong/Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty
Alex Wong/Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will debate in Flint, Michigan two days before Michigan’s primary. Breitbart News will be providing live updates throughout the evening.

In closing, Sanders says his father didn’t have money and lived in a  three bedroom rent-controlled apartment. He says a horrendous tragedy took place in Flint but 29 million do not have health insurance while school systems are collapsing. America is the wealthiest country in the world but Sanders says most people don’t know that because all of the wealth is going to the top. Sanders says it is too late for “establishment politics and establishment economics.” He wants a revolution to reclaim the government that men and women fought and died for.

Clinton says she is running for president to do her best to knock down barriers and allow every American to live up to his/her God-given potential. She says there are barriers to quality healthcare, education. She wants to take on barriers of systemic racism. She says she may not have experienced it but she sees it every single day. She will do whatever she can to “run a campaign you can be proud of.” She says she will not “get into the gutter” with the GOP nominee. Clinton then promptly starts coughing right after her closing statement.

9:55: Clinton is asked to who and for whom do you pray. She prays specifically for people she knows and people who have either gone through or are experiencing difficult times–illness, divorce, death, disappointment. She prays for the will of God to be known so that we can know it and, to the best of our limited ability, try to follow it and fulfill it. She points out that she is a “praying person” and she would have “become one” if she hadn’t been during her time in the White House…

She says humility is the most important attribute.

9:53: Sanders says he is “very proud of being Jewish” (Cooper asked whether he keeps his Judaism in the background intentionally) and that is an essential part of who he is as a human being. He points out that his father’s family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust and he remembers seeing people as a kid working in stores who had numbers on their arms because they were in Hitler’s concentration camps.

9:53: Sanders says he does better against Trump than Clinton and would love to run against him. Sanders says being called a “communist by Trump” was one of the nicer things he has said about him. Sanders says he is exciting working-class people (but so is Trump) and that is why he can beat Trump.

9:51: Finally, CNN asks Clinton about the email scandals. Cooper points out that Trump has vowed to make it an issue every day and Democrats are worried the scandal will hurt her in the general election. She says she has received more votes than Trump and is building a diverse coalition. She says Trump’s “bigotry, bullying, bluster” won’t wear well and she will look forward to engaging him (she doesn’t seem so confident and actually seems worried)… and repeats her talking point about wanting to make America whole again. Cooper doesn’t press Clinton to answer her original question after she punted.

9:46: Sanders asks why special interests are putting millions into campaigns if they are not getting anything from the candidates…

Clinton says Americans must demand that the Senate hold hearings when Obama nominates Justice Scalia’s replacement.

9:45: Clinton says she and Sanders have disagreements and asks voters to compare this debate with the one the Republicans had. Sanders says he and Clinton want to invest more money to treat mental health and it is obvious after the last GOP debate why they want to do so…

9:41: Sanders says he is not suggesting that Clinton is in the pocket of the fossil fuels industry but we have a corrupt campaign finance system. He accuses Clinton of taking funds from the fossil fuels industry while he is not.

Clinton says the president can’t “order people around” and says we will make progress on clean, renewable energy.

9:37: Questioner asks if Clinton supports fracking and mentions that fracking ruins the waters supply. Clinton says she doesn’t support it if any state or locality is against it, ruins/contaminates the water supply (releases methane) or if anybody who fracks doesn’t reveal what chemicals they are using. She says under her guidelines, there won’t be too many places where it can occur. She says fracking must be regulated more.

Sanders says his answer is a lot shorter: “No, I do not support fracking.” Sanders says governors are wrong when they say fracking can be done safely and helps the economy.

9:35: As with everything, Sanders says he will pay for his infrastructure programs by making sure corporations pay their taxes and don’t hide profits offshore. He says his plan will create 13 million new jobs as well.

9:33: Lemon now turns to infrastructure. Lemon asks if Clinton’s plan is big enough to fix the country’s crumbling infrastructure. She wants to start a “national infrastructure bank” and says she is trying to do this in a way that gains support and be affordable but there’s no doubt we have to do more on our roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, sewers, etc. She says we can also put millions of people to work rebuilding the country.

9:32: Sanders touts his college for all program. He says it is crazy that childcare workers are making McDonald’s wages…

9:30: Cooper points out that unions make it tough to fire bad teachers and allow them to teach children who need the best teachers. Coopers asks Clinton if unions are hurting children and she responds that people are blaming teachers because they don’t want to support the school system and is proud of her union endorsements.

When Cooper asks if unions protect bad teachers, Clinton punts and says we have to take a look at it to eliminate that criticism.

[Cooper, Lemon doing a good job of getting the candidates to actually answer the original question.]

9:28: Clinton says she would reinstate a program where the federal government provided funding to modernize public schools. She will also use every legal means at her disposal to force the governor to return the schools to the people of Detroit. She says the situation has gotten worse with these emergency managers. She wants to set up an education SWAT team inside the Department of Education…

9:24: Debate turns to education. Questioner tells the candidates the Detroit Public Schools have problem with rats, molds, lack of accountability, water fountains that do not work, etc. She asks who is going to step up and ensure that the policies and the procedures are put in place to ensure successful futures for schoolchildren.

Sanders thanks the woman for not being resigned to the horrendous situation and for being ready to “stand up and fight back.” [Sanders is getting a lot better at these debates/town halls.]

Sanders says a great nation is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable and “we should be ashamed at how we treat our kids and our senior citizens.” Sanders blasts the GOP Congress for leaving kids/elderly behind while giving tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations. Sanders says we should be “embarrassed” at the country’s child poverty rate. He says he will ask the wealthy to pay their “fair share” of taxes so we can raise the money to ensure that every child gets a quality education.

9:16: Clinton is asked about her “super predator” comments in the 1990s. She says it was a “poor choice of words.” She says she never used it before and will not use it again. She claims she was referring to “drug cartels.” Now she pivots to general talking points about too many people living in poverty and going to schools with mold/rodents. She says she believes in universal Pre-K , etc.

Sanders says the Welfare Reform Act “scapegoated the poorest people in the country” and blasts Clinton for having a different position then.

Clinton says Sanders should get his facts straight if we want to talk about the 1990s. She now defends her husband’s record and says “we lifted more people out of poverty” than at any time…She blames George W. Bush and “trickle-down” economics for ushering in the recession.

Sanders says Clinton is right that we created jobs in the 1990s but we deregulated Wall Street, which allowed Wall Street to destroy our economy. Sanders says we passed NAFTA, which had a horrendous impact on African-Americans in Flint, Detroit and across the country. [Extremely strong counter by Sanders to pin Bill Clinton’s DLC policies, which Hillary supported, for helping destroy the middle class over the long run.]

9:15: Sanders says his presidency will not be “absolutely” better than Obama on race relations. He says he will be better by building on what Obama has done. He says he will ensure the DOJ investigates every killing of citizens when they are in police custody or under apprehension. He would end militarization of local police departments. And he would make police departments look like the communities they serve. Sanders says he would recognize that substance abuse is a health issue and not a criminal issue. He would also ensure that people who leave jail get the education they need to not go back to tackle recidivism.

9:12: Sanders recalls talking to a black man in D.C. 20 years ago who would not take cabs because cab drivers would pass him by. Sanders says Black Lives Matter people have told him that they are being “terrorized” by police every day where police officers are “bullying people.”

“When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled down the street or be dragged out of a car,” Sanders says. [white people don’t know what it’s like to be poor?]

Sanders says “we will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system.”

9:08: When asked about what racial blindspots she may have, Clinton wants to answer the previous question. She says her youth minister insisted that she go into inner city Chicago and have exchanges with kids in black and Hispanic churches. She was a babysitter for migrant children as well. She says that got her thinking about what she needed to do fulfill her faith. She touts her friendship with Marion Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund. Clinton says she sent her to South Carolina and Alabama to investigate segregation, etc. But she doesn’t answer Lemon’s question about whether “everyone’s a little bit racist.” Lemon does a good job getting the candidates to answer the original question.

Clinton says as a white woman, she has not had the experiences that so many people in the audience have had. She says white people need to think what it may be like talking to kids about police brutality so their children don’t end up like Sandra Bland. She says she has gotten to know mothers like Trayvon Martin’s. She says she can’t pretend to have the experiences that minorities have had but she will do the best she can to empathize and tear down the barriers in the criminal justice/education system.


9:06: Sanders is asked what experiences he has had to understand the mindset of other cultures. Sanders says that when he was a young man at the University of Chicago, he worked with black and white students to desegregate university-owned housing. He says he was arrested while protesting desegregation in the Chicago school system. He says that in 1963, he went to the March on Washington and Dr. King “has been an important inspiration for me.” Sanders says his position on criminal justice is the strongest position of any candidate.

9:03: Lemon asks Sanders if his vote for the crime bill was a mistake. Sanders says there are bills in Congress that have “good stuff” and “bad stuff” in the same bill. Sanders says if he had voted against the bill, Clinton would have accused him of voting against the Violence Against Women Act, etc. since that was in the bill. He says the ban on assault weapons was also in the bill that the voted for. Sanders says at the end of his first term, we will not have more people in jail than any other country (that promise would mean the country will have to release a lot of prisoners…)

9:00: Lemon asks Clinton why black people should trust her to get it right this time re: ’94 crime bill. She points out that Sanders also voted for it and people were asking for action at the time. Clinton’s response is that she gave a speech about ending mass incarceration to kick off her campaign. She says more body cameras and ending profiling. Lemon presses her to answer the question about why black people should trust her this time. Her answer is Sanders voted for it as well but doesn’t have a good answer.

[Again, Clinton is the student who memorizes all of the answers to the test. Throw her a curve ball or a pop quiz and she short-circuits.]

8:51: Debate now turns to crime/guns. Addressing gun violence, Clinton says we try everything to must limit the numbers of people and the kinds of people who are given access to firearms. She touts the Brady Bill and says comprehensive background checks and closing the gun-show/online/Charleston loopholes are necessary. She now slams Sanders for giving immunity to gunmakers and sellers.

Sanders says he remembers Obama being on television and getting emotional after the mass killing in Oregon. Sanders says Obama said nobody has a magic solution to this problem but “we have got to everything we possibly can to minimize the possibility of mass killings.” Sanders says he has a D- rating from the NRA and lost a statewide election because he favored an “assault weapons ban.”

Candidates are asked about the families of the Sandy Hook tragedy suing Remington. Cooper wonders if the lawsuit will not go anywhere because of the legislation Sanders supported. Sanders says he disagrees with the lawsuit if the point of it is to hold manufacturers/sellers responsible for the actions of people who buy the firearms legally. Sanders says what you are talking about is “ending gun manufacturing in America.” Sanders says he would support holding sellers/manufacturers liable if they knowingly were selling to criminals.

Clinton now shrilly talking about egghead legal theories to hold manufacturers more responsible [this is not going to work in the general election.]

[Clinton really needs to get better talking in front of a microphone. She has the same problem Howard Dean had–seeming like she does not realize that the microphone is not broken and works well–of sounding shrill and screaming into the microphone. It may play well in the room but does not come across well on television, which counts for a lot more. Clinton’s a lot worse during her post-election victory speeches.]

Sanders gets testy and accuses Clinton of wanting to end gun manufacturing in America. [From the look on Clinton’s face, it looks like she actually supports ending all gun manufacturing in America.]

Clinton accuses gun manufacturers of corporate greed. Sanders says he doesn’t agree with ending gun manufacturing in America.

[This debate is great for the GOP.]

8:42: Clinton says more jobs would be lost without the Export/Import bank. She says we would be exporting more jobs than products without it. She accuses Sanders of taking a “lonely” position against the Ex/Im bank. Clinton says other countries support their companies and America should as well in order to better compete on the global stage. Clinton says companies like Boeing need money from the Export/Import bank so Boeing can better compete with Airbus.

Sanders asks isn’t it tragic that the corporation need a handout while the American middle class gets shafted. “I don’t think so,” Sanders says.

He says that Clinton has traveled the world and he is sure that Clinton must notice that all the countries in Europe guarantee healthcare to all of their people “as a right!” Sanders says. Clinton says we are on the path to covering everyone because of Obamacare.

8:39: The debate now turns to the Export/Import bank. Sanders opposes it and he says that he opposes it because the other name of the Export/Import is the “bank of Boeing.” Sanders says 75% of the funds going to the Export/Import bank go to large, profitable corporations that have shut down in America and have gone abroad instead of to small businesses. He says he does not think it’s a good idea for taxpayers to subsidize profitable corporations via such “corporate welfare” programs.

Cooper points out that he and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) agree on the Export/Import bank. Sanders says Democrats are not always right and Democrats have supported “corporate welfare” and “disastrous trade issues.”

[Another instance of this election being against Washington’s bipartisan permanent political class.]

8:36: Cooper asks Sanders about his Tweet that said the people of Detroit know the costs of Hillary Clinton’s failed trade policies. Sanders says she wasn’t alone and there were many Republicans and far too many Democrats. Sanders says that in 1960, Detroit was one of the wealthiest places in America before corporate America decided to pay slave wages to people in China, etc. He says those trade agreements have resulted in the shrinking of the American middle class and started the race to the bottom. “How stupid is that trade policy?” he asks.

[Not mentioned: America’s immigration policies and left-wing social engineering programs/”War on Poverty” that also destroyed America’s middle class and decimated working-class white and minority communities.]

8:34: Sanders throws his arms in the air and says he will release his transcripts… “there’s  nothing…” he says pointing out that he has never given paid speeches to Wall Street.

[I wonder how different the campaign would be had Sanders not blunted his own momentum by giving Clinton a pass on the emails issue. If Sanders had only been more neutral during that exchange, the race could be a lot different.]

8:30: Sanders says if Clinton wants to paint him as a one-issue candidate, his one issue is wanting to rebuild the middle class.

Clinton says you were either for or against saving the auto industry and she stood with Obama to save it.

Sanders blasts Clinton for having a Super Pac and giving Wall Street speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sanders says if someone pays Clinton $200,000 for a speech, it must be so great that she should release it.

Clinton not listen off talking points from her briefing book to claim that she has a record of standing up to Wall Street.  She also again says Obama took more  money from Wall Street than anyone and still signed Dodd-Frank.

8:24: Sanders: I am glad Clinton Has Finally ‘Discovered Religion’ on Trade.

Sanders says he was on picket lines in the 1990s against NAFTA while Clinton was supporting those agreements. He points out that he was against the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the beginning and says we should invest in the United States and not Mexico and China.

Clinton’s response, because she doesn’t have a defense on trade, hits Sanders for being against the auto bailout.

“Whoa, whoa,” Sanders says.

Sanders says Clinton is talking about the Wall Street bailout where “some of your friends destroyed the economy.”

“Excuse me, I’m talking,” Sanders says as Clinton tries to interrupt. Sanders is finally fired up. 

He says Clinton voted for “every disastrous” trade agreement and corporate America. Sanders says he voted for the bailout after billionaires begged for the bailouts because the middle class should not bail out billionaires. Sanders says he has stood up to corporate America time and time again and that is “one of the major difference that we have.”

Clinton says she voted against CAFTA and came out against the TPP. She again pivots to the auto bailout.

[Sanders is softening up Clinton for the general election. Clinton seems like the defender of the plutocrats in one of the most anti-establishment/Wall Street election cycles.]

She slams Sanders for being a one-issue candidate and says she has to make “hard choices”… and again uses the opportunity to point out that Sanders stood against Obama on the bailouts.

8:21: Cooper talks about Michigan’s loss of manufacturing jobs [this is why Trump’s message has huge crossover appeal in the general election, especially with Reagan Democrats and working-class minorities]. Questioner asks what they will do keep factory jobs in the United States. Clinton talks about a “carrots and sticks” approach even though she and her husband have supported the disastrous trade deals that have devastated communities like Flint. Clinton talks about helping small businesses, especially minority-owned businesses. Clinton says she will claw back tax benefits from companies like Nabisco if they leave the country. She talks about “exit fees” companies who get government assistance and go abroad will have to pay.

8:20: Sanders is asked why he visited Flint five months after residents were told to stop drinking the water. Sanders says he actually met quietly with people before that and held town meetings on the matter. Sanders says the “legitimate fear” of the people of Flint is that the television cameras will disappear and people are going to struggle to live in a safe community. Sanders says throughout his career, he has stood with those who are hurting,  have no money… and has taken on the special interests and the powerful.

8:18: Questioner wonders why the people of Flint should believe that Clinton is not using the crisis to score political points. She says she has been working to even the odds for people throughout her career. She says she has “tried to fix problems wherever I saw them” and “this problem is one that is outrageous and painful at the same time.” She says she immediately sent people to Flint to find out what was going on because it was “unbelievable” that decisions made by public officials created the tragedy. She says she has met with mothers and residents and “it will always be a priority of action for me” if she is president.

8:16: When Lemon asks Clinton if people should go to jail, she says “that is up to the legal system.” She calls for “absolute accountability” and will support whatever the investigations find. Sanders says he can’t make judgments about whether someone created criminal acts but if investigators find that government officials committed criminal acts, they will have to be held accountable.

8:14: Sanders vows that the EPA director that every water system in the United States is tested and the people of those communities know the quality of the water they are drinking. Sanders says he will have a plan to rebuild water systems that are unsafe. Clinton says she wants to go further than Sanders and have an “absolute commitment” to get rid of lead wherever it exists like soil, lead paint. She says we will commit to changing water systems and remove lead from everywhere within five years.

8:13: Sanders says President Sanders would fire anyone who knew what was happening and did not act appropriately. Sanders again rails against tax breaks for the wealthy. He wonders how we have so much money available to go to war in Iraq but lack the money to help Flint and Detroit’s public school system. “Anderson, the bottom line is…. changing our national priorities. We need a government that works for all of us. Not just wealthy campaign contributors.”

8:11: Cooper points out that the EPA also dropped the ball and asks whether she would fire the EPA head. Clinton says she doesn’t know how far up it went and she will have an investigation to determine “who knew what, when…” Clinton says we have a lot of communities where the level of toxins in the water are way above what anybody should tolerate. Clinton says people who were responsible should get axed.

8:10: Sanders blasts corporations that have destroyed Flint with disastrous trade policies. He sarcastically says maybe we should let Wall Street come in and run Flint because their honesty has done so much. He says he will trust the people instead of Wall Street/Corporate America when Cooper asks Sanders whether residents can trust the government that dropped the ball.

8:08: Sanders says it is absolutely incredible that water rates have “soured in Flint” and residents are paying three times as much for poison water as he is paying for clean water in Vermont. He says they should not pay for poison water–and that should be retroactive.  Sanders says the CDC should come into the city and check every resident for lead levels. He also wants that federal government to devote more resources to rebuilding Flint.

8:05: A public housing program manager describes the difficulties Flint residents are facing. She asks both candidates what course would you take to restore trust in government. Clinton says the government has let Flint down and she will work with elected officials and double and triple check that the water problem is fixed in Flint. Cooper asks Clinton for specifics after her vague answer and she responds by saying she supports what President Obama is doing (getting accountability from the EPA and expanding Medicaid while ordering a Head Start program in the city.) Clinton says she supports the mayor’s program to pay people in Flint to deliver the water while we’re fixing the pipes. She says she will do more as president by concentrating resources on Flint for economic development.

8:03: Clinton says “Amen to that.” She says Snyder should “resign or be recalled.” And she is glad the debate is putting a “spotlight” on the water criss. She says we must focus on what must be done to help the people of Flint. She wants funds from the federal government to fix Flint’s infrastructure and Michigan should also be sending money from its rainy day fund to  “immediately to help this city.” She says it’s “raining lead” in Flint.

8:01: Sanders says what he heard and saw in Flint “literally shattered me.” He says the fact that children are being poisoned in 2016 is “clearly not what this country should be about.” Sanders says he believes that Gov. Rick Snyder should understand that his “dereliction of duty was irresponsible” and “he should resign.” Sanders says more importantly, all over the country, middle-class families are struggling to provide basic services while the rich get richer. He talks about rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. He says America must “take care of its people. No more tax cuts for billionaires.”

8:00: Cooper says CNN host Don Lemon and members of the audience will also provide questions. Cooper discusses the Flint water crisis and points out that the state “downplayed” the crisis even though it had evidence that the water was contaminated. He says the federal government knew about it as well but never told Flint’s residents.

7:58: Cooper wants to take a moment to remember first lady Nancy Reagan and asks the audience for a moment of silence to remember her.

7:57: CNN moderator Anderson Cooper welcomes Sanders and Clinton to the stage.


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