Saturday’s Democratic Debate was bit more cordial than the recent GOP Debate among Republican presidential candidates. The Democratic candidates discussed a number of key issues, including terrorism, health care, taxes, gun control and you guessed it, Donald Trump.
During the opening minutes of the debate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders expressed his apologies to Hilary Clinton. While standing on the podium next to Clinton, Sanders explained that there were two instances of data breach and during the second time, his admitted that his staff “did the wrong thing, they looked at that information.” Sanders says that the said person (reportedly his campaign’s digital director) has since been fired and that he has also launched the independent investigation into the issue “to see who else was involved.” Clinton, for her part, accepted Sanders apology with a curt nod and also thanked him for his apology. The leading Democratic presidential candidate also said, “We should move on because I don’t think American people are all that interested in this.” With that out of the way, the actual discussion (or rather, arguments) among Sanders, Clinton and Martin O’Malley began.
The one topic that never escaped discussion in both Republican and Democratic debates is terrorism, specifically the threat that is ISIS. The focus then turned to ISIS stronghold Syria, where Clinton has said she supports the ousting of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Sanders argued that Clinton is “too much into regime change,” and expressed concern for “unintended consequences” that could come from such aggressive actions. Moreover, Sanders stated, “It is not Assad who is attacking the United States. It is ISIS”
But then, the candidates did not leave the subject of ISIS without mentioning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Clinton remarked, “He (Trump) is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter.” She also added that people will end up showing videos of “Trump insulting Islam and Muslims” to recruit radical jihadists. At the same time, Clinton also said that there is a need to bring Muslims in the U.S. to fight extremism in the country. Meanwhile, O’Malley called Trump a fascist while saying that Trump’s idea of banning Muslims from entering the country is a dangerous idea. On the other hand, Sanders downplayed Trump’s viability for the presidential role. Overall, Trump’s name was mentioned in the Democratic Debate nine times, according to the Wall Street Journal.
On the subject of gun control, Clinton has said that having more guns is not the solution to combating terrorism. Meanwhile, Sanders says that gun ownership must be subject to stricter background checks. On the other hand, O’Malley uses the gun control issue to state that his Democratic rivals are “flip-floppers” when it comes to gun control while promoting his own reforms and ban on assault weapons. Sanders, however, fired back, saying that he is for background checks when it comes to gun ownership.
The candidates also had differing positions when it came to taxes. Clinton doesn’t believe in raising taxes on the middle class and said that she would impose higher taxes on the wealthy while Sanders said that he needs to increase taxes by $1.61 a week for extended family and medical leaves.
All in all, the Democratic debate was lively with Clinton saying “May the force be with you!” during her closing statement.