Democratic debate in Milwaukee spotlights fundamental divide
MILWAUKEE — Fresh off her double-digit loss in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton sought to undermine surging rival Bernie Sanders here Thursday night, arguing that his expansive agenda for government action on health care, college costs and infrastructure investments is both impractical and far more costly than he has said. The debate turned fiery only in the closing minutes, when the two clashed over foreign policy and over comments by Sanders critical of President Obama.
“I couldn’t disagree more,” Clinton said, accusing Sanders of leveling the kind of attacks on the president usually heard from Republicans.
“That is a low blow,” Sanders said, saying he had worked with the president throughout the past seven years. “Have you ever disagreed with the president?” he asked.
Overall, the debate highlighted anew the fundamental fault line between the two candidates for the Democratic nomination, with Sanders standing his ground on behalf of a big and bold agenda that has energized progressives across the country and Clinton expressing her support for many of her rival’s goals but arguing that she has the preparation to make real progress in a divided country.
At Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Milwaukee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once again faced questions about gender. (PBS NewsHour)
After a pair of heated contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, the two Democrats spent much of their two-hour debate in relatively civil disagreement. They disagreed over the size and scope of government and traded views on topics including race and criminal justice, immigration and Social Security.
In her closing statement, and without Sanders having an opportunity to reply, Clinton opened up a new argument against her rival, implying that Sanders’s focus on the corrupting influence of political money on government is too limited. “I’m not a single-issue candidate, and I don’t believe we live in a single-issue country,” Clinton said.
The debate had its moments. One thing I find interesting is that Sanders has gotten a lot of support from young people who seem to consider HRC as old school even though he is much older. One problem, they generally turn out in lower numbers for the general election.