Top takeaways from the Miami Democratic debate
Things got a little heated during the Democratic debate, as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton came out firing over immigration, health care, global warming and more. VPC
It was just days after their last debate, but Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton still managed to give us some new things to chew over at their Wednesday night tangle in Miami:
Sanders can attack Clinton’s record as well
In the last debate — in Detroit — Clinton attacked Sanders for voting against the 2008 auto bailout that rescued Detroit’s primary industry.
But Sanders said that was a distortion. He voted for an auto bailout that failed in Congress, and then voted against the Wall Street bailout that ultimately got used to fund the auto bailout.
Clinton made the attack again Tuesday, and Sanders defended himself again — but this time he turned the tables, attacking her on immigration.
“Secretary Clinton prevailed upon the governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer, who wanted to do the right thing and provide driver’s license to these who were undocumented,” Sanders said. “She said don’t do it, and New York State still does not do it. In Vermont, by the way, I worked with officials and undocumented people in Vermont do have the ability to get driver’s license.”
Clinton recognizes her people problem
There was a kind of bittersweet moment Tuesday night when Hillary Clinton acknowledged that she does not have the natural personal magnetism of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Moderator Karen Tumulty asked Clinton about polls that continue to show her scoring poorly on person traits like “trustworthiness.”
“Well, first Karen, obviously it’s painful for me to hear that,” she said.
“Look, I have said before and it won’t surprise anybody to hear me say it, this is not easy for me. It’s not easy to do what I think is right, to help people, to even the odds, to hear a story like the woman’s story we just heard. And to know that I can make a difference and I want to in every way possible.
“I am not a natural politician, in case you haven’t noticed, like my husband or President Obama.”
It was a reminder of the 2008 presidential debate when Clinton was asked why people thought she was not as “likable” as her then-competitor Obama.
“Well that hurts my feelings, but I’ll try to go on,” she said.
“You’re likable enough, Hillary,” Obama said — but it was not at all clear he meant it.
Which side of the Bay of Pigs were you on?
It has been a Very Long Time since we have found ourselves in a debate over Daniel Ortega, the Sandanistas and, as the kids used to say, “U.S. out of North America.” But way back in the 1980s, Bernie Sanders was part of the American left that raged against U.S. efforts to unseat the communist government in El Salvador, using a proxy army called the “contras.” (Name rings a bell? They were the back half of the “Iran-Contra” scandal, which was perhaps the worst stain on the Reagan presidency.)
Anyhow, in Wednesday’s debate, Sanders was asked about his praise in 1985 for Ortega and the Sandinista government and antique footage of him criticizing the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. While people were convinced then-Cuban president Fidel Castro was “the worst guy in the world,” he said in the video, they forgot that he “educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed their society.”
“Boo,” went the South Floridian audience.
Sanders explained he was saying the United States was wrong to try to invade Cuba, to support people to overthrow the Nicaraguan government and to try to overthrow the Guatemalan government in 1954.
“I think the United States should be working with governments around the world, not get involved in regime change,” he said to applause. “And all of these actions, by the way, in Latin America, brought forth a lot of very strong anti-American sentiments.That’s what that was about.”
Whose wall is bigger?
Sure, Clinton has said she voted numerous times as a senator to build the wall with Mexico.
But there’s a difference between her wall and the one that Donald Trump wants to build. She said what she and Sanders have voted for is fencing along the border and additional security measures that have largely secured the border.
Trump’s wall, on the other hand, would be “very tall,” she said, mocking the GOP front-runner.
“A beautiful tall wall,” she said. “The most beautiful tall wall, better than the Great Wall of China, that would run the entire border. That he would somehow magically get the Mexican government to pay for. And, you know, it’s just fantasy.”
People are getting bored
During a substantive, immigration-focused Democratic debate sandwiched between competitive sets of primaries, one of the biggest topics on Twitter was … the color of Bernie Sanders’ suit.
This is the last Democratic debate for a while, and coming just three days after the Flint Democratic debate, Twitter seems to be OK with that.