I'll be live-blogging tonight's Democratic debate here. This could be a particularly important one. It's coming just 2 days after Bernie Sanders had a historic win of more than 20 points in New Hampshire, so now's the time for Sanders to try to build his momentum — and for Hillary Clinton to try to shift the narrative that her campaign is faltering, isn't appealing to young people, etc.
Keep reloading this post for updates throughout the debate. As always, I'll be writing quotes on the fly, so they might not be word-for-word, but I'll try to keep them reasonably accurate.
Check out more live-blogging at TPM and the New Republic.
9:06 — Bernie Sanders, in his opening statement, says we have "a broken criminal justice system." In the last Democratic debate, I pointed out that Hillary Clinton seemed to seize on Sanders's failure to bring up any race-related issues in his opening statement (see my update in the last live-blog at 9:06).
9:08 — In Hillary Clinton's opening statement, she also brings up "African-Americans, who face discrimination." This fits with her plan to focus on race after New Hampshire. She also brings up the canard that women are underpaid.
9:13 — Sanders says the federal government has "a vital role in making sure that all people have a decent standard of living."
9:14 — Clinton says Sanders's health-care plan includes "a promise that cannot be kept," according to "progressive economists." "The numbers just don't add up, and many people will be worse off than they are now." [VIDEO.]
9:14 — Sanders calls out Clinton for "going around the country" saying he's going to "dismantle" Medicare, Medicaid, etc. "We're not going to dismantle anything."
9:16 — Clinton says that before "universal-coverage health care" was called "Obamacare," it was called "Hillarycare." This might be the first time I've heard her proudly associate herself with the word "Hillarycare."
9:18 — Clinton strikes a relatively conservative note on health care: "The last thing we need is to throw the country into a contentious debate about health care again. We are not England. We are not France."
9:19 — Gwen Ifill, one of the moderators, tells Clinton she "may remember a State of the Union address" that said "The era of big government is over." Ifill doesn't specify which president said that. I wish the media would remember that not everyone who's following this presidential race has been following politics for decades. Some of the people who'll be voting were born in 1998 — before President Clinton said that line.
9:21 — After Clinton begins a sentence with, "When I am in the White House . . . ," Sanders shoots back: "Secretary Clinton, you're not in the White House yet!" [VIDEO.]
9:23 — Clinton ridicules Sanders's education plan by saying it assumes all governors, including the Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, the former presidential candidate, will sign onto the plan. [VIDEO.]
9:24 — Sanders doesn't really address Clinton's point about his education plan. He just says he believes everyone has a right to a college education.
9:25 — In response to a question about why more women aren't supporting her, Clinton says she believes women have "a right to make choices — even if that choice is not to vote for me! . . . We need to empower everyone — women and men — to make the best decisions, in their mind, that they can make."
9:27 – Sanders falsely refers to "the absurdity of women today making 79 cents on the dollar compared to men." (See my link at 9:08.)
9:29 — Sanders says: "A Sanders victory would be some historical accomplishment as well." My mom, Ann Althouse, likes that statement and dislikes what Clinton said:
That was a bald-faced lie when she said she wasn't asking us to vote for her because she's a woman. I was walking away from the TV and the computer, but I had to come back to take note of that. Now that I'm here, I'll add that I liked what Bernie Sanders said when he was asked how he felt about standing in the way of a first woman President. He said that if he won, considering who he is, it would also be historic. He didn't specify why. He didn't say "first Jewish President" or "socialist!" It's up to us to fill in why.9:36 — In a discussion about the high levels of blacks in prison, Clinton talks about how "young people — particularly young men — are pushed out of school early." As a Washington Post article has put it in response to one of Clinton's speeches:
She did not mention that the racial disparities are partly the result of policies embraced by her husband.9:39 — Moderator Judy Woodruff says "hardly anyone" thinks race relations have improved during the Obama administration, and asks Clinton how she'd do better. Clinton rejects the premise, pointing out that Obamacare has particularly benefited blacks. She refers to "the dark side of the remaining systemic racism that we need to root out in our society." In a discussion of race, perhaps it's best to avoid using the word "dark" as a synonym for "evil."
9:41 — Sanders is asked if "race relations would be better under a Sanders administration than they've been" under the Obama administration. "Absolutely!" This is unsurprising: he thinks his policies would help the poor, and the poor are disproportionately black. [VIDEO.]
9:44 — Clinton says "it would be a terrible oversight not to address the terrible problems that white Americans" have had.
9:48 — Sanders: "I disagree with [Obama's] recent deportation policies." Clinton sides with Obama.
9:50 — Clinton: "Hopefully after the 2016 election, some of the Republicans will come to their sense and realize we are not going to deport 11 million people."
9:52 — Sanders on immigration: "We have got to stand up to the Trumps of the world, who are trying to divide us up."
9:54 — The candidates are exploring their disagreements over immigration legislation, but I'm not following all their distinctions, and I doubt this discussion will have much of an effect on most Democratic voters.
10:00 — Woodruff says about half (?) of Clinton's donations come from "just two wealthy financiers."
10:01 — Clinton says she's "proud" that she, Sanders, and Obama have had more donors than any other Democratic candidate. She's making a show of complimenting Sanders, but she's really trying to undercut his advantage by depicting the two of them as similar.
10:04 — Clinton points out that Obama got more Wall Street donations "than anybody on the Democratic side, ever," and it didn't affect his support for financial regulations. Sanders has a scathing response: "Let's not insult the intelligence of the American people! They're not dumb! Why does the financial industry spend huge amounts of money on campaign contributions? I guess, just for the fun of it! They just want to throw money around!" Sanders also rejects Clinton's suggestion that our current financial regulations have been effective — the big banks are even bigger today than in 2008. [VIDEO.]
10:16 Sanders is asked if there are "any areas of government [he'd] like to reduce." Sanders says yes. "Anybody who doesn't think there is an enormous amount of waste and bureaucracy and inefficiency in government would be very mistaken." He says the Department of Defense in particular should be "audited." Clinton agrees that some government programs should be "streamlined."
10:20 — The foreign policy part of the debate is off to a dull start, with Clinton describing how she'd fight ISIL, and how she'd be better at working with our Muslim allies than Donald Trump would be.
10:22 — Sanders points out that Obama's invasion of Libya, which Clinton was part of, led to a terrible dictator being overthrown but also led to ISIL taking over large parts of the country.
10:24 — Clinton says Sanders voted for regime change in Iraq and Libya, while Sanders vigorously shakes his head. Sanders denies it.
10:27 — Sanders says Clinton talks in her book about seeking "the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger." "Count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger!" [VIDEO.]
10:29 — Clinton retorts: "I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know!" She also points out that Kissinger opened up our relations with China. Clinton says, somewhat patronizingly, "It's a big, complicated world out there!" [VIDEO.]
10:40 — They have the same quibble over Iran that they had in the last debate.
10:43 — They're asked to name one American leader and one foreign leader who'd influence their foreign policy. Sanders says FDR for the American leader, and Winston Churchill for the foreign leader. Clinton agrees with Sanders on FDR, and says Nelson Mandela for the foreign leader. (Not very original choices by either of them.) Then she transitions into a rousing tribute to Obama (the culmination of her name-checking of him throughout the debate), and says she does not "expect" a Democrat to criticize Obama as much as Sanders has. Sanders seems incensed: "Madam Secretary, that is a low blow. . . . Have you ever disagreed with the president? I suspect you may have! . . . One of us ran against Barack Obama; I was not that candidate."