Clinton, Sanders Spar In 'Great Debate'

The University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, hosting PBS NewsHour and the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates, witnessed perhaps the most substantive debate yet.

PBS partnered with Facebook to deliver varied and pointed questions. Interspersed with Facebook-sourced questions, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff covered issues ranging from the size of government, healthcare and race, to gender rights and foreign policy.

There was a crystallization of both campaign strategies in Wisconsin last night. Sen. Bernie Sanders called the exchange "a great debate."

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks to embody a third Obama term, while focusing on certain improvements to his policies.

We did see, however, stronger signs that Clinton clearly wants to appeal to Sanders’ progressive base by overtly agreeing with the Senator on a number of points.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, spoke once again of a “political revolution in which millions of Americans stand up, come together [and don’t] let the Trumps of the world divide us.”



The two candidates sparred intensely over health care, and Hillary Clinton successfully put the viability of Sanders’ plan of Medicaid for all into question. She hit home with: “I am not a single-issue-candidate, and I do not believe we live in a single-issue country."

As columnist Mark Shields said on PBS following the live stream of the debate, Hillary Clinton was “HillaryObama” for the night.

On issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to the Iran nuclear deal and even to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, Hillary Clinton touted her closeness to the Obama administration, while distancing it from Bernie Sanders.

In what Bernie Sanders called a “low blow,” Hillary Clinton pointed out that the Senator has called the president “weak” and that he believes president Obama has “failed the presidential leadership test.”

To rousing applause, Clinton fished off the scathing attack, adding that the type of criticism from Sanders is what she would “expect from Republicans,” not “from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.”

Sanders showed signs of much-needed foreign policy acumen, but unfortunately, was only seriously convincing on some Cold War knowledge. He mentioned the overthrow of Mossadeq in the 1950s and criticizsed Clinton’s relationship with Henry Kissinger, who was privy to more than questionable activities in Cambodia. (Clinton mentioned him in a previous debate.)

It was a surprise that Kissinger made it into the debate. When he did, according to The Washington Post, Google measured a significant spike in searches for the former Secretary of State. Searches actually far outnumbered both Sanders and Clinton searches for a period of about five minutes.

Both candidates had strong moments in the debate, but Sanders didn’t look like someone who had just routed his opponent in a contest two days before. With South Carolina and Nevada coming up quickly, Clinton may have begun to stem the Bernie tide.

1 comment about "Clinton, Sanders Spar In 'Great Debate'".
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  1. Aldo Bender from SmartSystems Media Group, February 12, 2016 at 1:06 p.m.

    Are you friggin' kidding? There were no tough questions that would have challenged either of them! Your column is a laugher, thanks for the giggles!

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