Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Live-blogging the last scheduled Democratic debate of 2016

I'll be blogging the debate here. Keep reloading this post for live updates.

As always, I'll be writing down what the candidates say without a pause/rewind button, so quotations in this post might not be verbatim, but I'll try to keep them reasonably accurate, and I might correct some of them later.

This is a Univision debate, done partly in Spanish, and focusing on issues of particular concern to Hispanic Americans.

9:11 — Hillary Clinton is asked how she "failed" last night, when she lost Michigan. She doesn't answer the question. Instead, she points out that she got more total votes and delegates last night — in Michigan and Mississippi combined. When pressed to answer the question, she just says it was "close."

9:13 — Bernie Sanders is asked if he can "realistically catch up" to Clinton in delegates. He says last night in Michigan was "one of the major upsets in modern American political history." He says he'll continue to do "extremely well" — and convince super delegates to switch to him. [VIDEO.]

9:15 — Clinton is asked about her emails. She says her emails have been "retroactively classified" — and the same has been done to former Secretary of State Colin Powell's emails. Jorge Ramos, whose daughter works for the Clinton campaign, asks if she'll withdraw if she's indicted. "Oh, for goodness . . . ! It is not going to happen! I'm not even answering that question." [VIDEO.]

9:17 — Question to Clinton: "Is Donald Trump a racist?" She won't directly answer, but she takes credit for being the first candidate to say "¡Basta!" when Trump tarred illegal immigrants from Mexico as "rapists." "You don't make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great! . . . What he has promoted is not at all in keeping with American values."

9:20 — Bernie Sanders points out that his father immigrated to America from Poland, yet "nobody has ever asked me for my birth certificate." He points to his hand and says: "Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin!"

9:25 — Clinton attacks Sanders for voting against the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, and for suggesting that it would lead to "modern-day slavery."

9:26 — Sanders claims that Clinton was against New York giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. I wonder how Clinton feels about this issue coming back to haunt her, after it played a pivotal role in leading to the downfall of her 2008 campaign.

9:34 — The moderator plays a clip of himself, earlier this year, asking Clinton if she'd promise not to deport immigrants without criminal records, particularly children. In the video, she didn't make that promise, and only said everyone should receive "due process." She says she disagrees with "the current administration" — "stop the raids, stop the roundups, stop the reporting of people who are living here, living their lives, doing their jobs." She finally does promise not to deport children or people without criminal records. "I do not want to see them deported; I want to see them on a path to citizenship."

9:39 — Sanders makes the same promises — but Clinton uses that as an opportunity to come back to Sanders's opposition to the 2007 bill. She says if the bill had passed, "a lot of discussions we're having today would be in the rear-view mirror."

9:41 — Clinton accuses Sanders of "supporting the Minutemen and their ridiculous, absurd efforts to hunt down immigrants." Sanders denies it.

9:44 — Clinton reprises her attack on Sanders for voting against the auto bailout, from the last debate. Sanders it wasn't an "auto bailout" — it was a "Wall Street bailout."

9:47 — Clinton is asked: "What is the difference between the wall that you voted for, and Donald Trump's wall?" In a possible preview of the general election, Clinton mocks Trump for proposing "a very tall wall — a beautiful tall wall — better than the great wall of China — that he would somehow, magically get the Mexican government to pay for! And it's just fantasy!"

9:51 — A mother who brought her 5 children to the debate asks a question, in Spanish (translated by a moderator), about the fact that her husband has been deported and can't see his family. Of course, Sanders and Clinton both say they're committed to stopping that kind of thing from happening. But Sanders's answer is relatively vague. Clinton gives a stronger answer, not just because she gives more policy specifics, but also because she starts by connecting with the woman on a more emotional level, praising her for her bravery: "This is an incredible act of courage that I'm not sure many people really understand." Clinton seems to have sharply observed her husband in a famous moment in one of the general-election debates in 1992, when incumbent President Bush gave a weak answer to a woman who asked about the national debt, and then Bill Clinton connected with the questioner in a way Bush hadn't:

Ironically, a few minutes later, Clinton candidly admits: "I am not a natural politician, in case you haven't noticed, like my husband or President Obama. . . ." [VIDEO.]

10:05 — They play a video of one of the Benghazi victims' loved ones saying Clinton told her one thing about the nature of the attack while telling her family something very different. Clinton flatly says: "She's wrong." Sanders refuses to discuss Benghazi. [VIDEO.]

10:22 — This debate has been pretty dull for a while now.

10:23 — After Clinton explains her plan for student debt, Sanders snarks: "What Secretary Clinton said is absolutely right. I think I said it many months before she said it! But thanks for copying a very good idea!" [VIDEO.]

10:25 — Clinton says Sanders's health-care plan will be way more expensive than he says. "As my dad used to say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

10:28 — The moderator says two dozen Florida mayors urged her to ask the candidates what they'd do about "the effects of rising sea levels and climate change in their communities," especially in Miami. Sanders calls out Trump and other Republicans for calling climate change "a hoax," which Sanders translates as: "We don't have the guts to stand up to the fossil-fuel industry." Clinton points out that she'll stick with Obama's executive actions in this area; a Republican president would undo them.

10:32 — Sanders keeps interrupting a lengthy answer by Clinton on climate change, while the moderator keeps telling Clinton, "Thank you!" (which is debate-speak for "Shut up!"). [VIDEO.] When Sanders finally gets to talk, he says: "You're looking at the Senator who introduced the most comprehensive climate-change legislation in the history of the United States Senate."

10:34 — Clinton says Sanders is "always criticizing" the two most recent Democratic presidents, and "that's fine," but he should criticize George W. Bush too. Sanders scoffs: "I gather Secretary Clinton hasn't listened to too many speeches, or followed my work in the Congress. . . . "

10:40 — The candidates are asked if they'd visit Cuba. Clinton makes a series of statements that are worded to sound strong without answering the question. Sanders calls for "normalized relations with Cuba."

10:43 — They show a video of Sanders, in 1985, saying Fidel Castro was being unfairly criticized, when he "educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society!" Sanders says this was about his opposition to invading Cuba or other Latin American countries. [VIDEO.]

10:47 — Clinton lambastes Sanders for saying, in another part of the 1985 video (which isn't shown), that Cuba brought about a "revolution of values." "When you disappear people, you imprison people, you even kill people, for expressing their opinions, for freedom of speech, that is not the kind of 'revolution of values' that I want to see anywhere!"

10:50 — When asked about the Supreme Court vacancy, Clinton reminds us of Bush v. Gore: "A court took away a presidency! Now we've got the Republican Congress trying to take away the Constitution!" As for what kind of Justice she'd like to see appointed, she says that Citizens United should be overruled and Roe v. Wade should remain "settled law." For some reason, Sanders doesn't get to address that issue.

And that's all for the Democratic primary debates in 2016.


rcocean said...

"Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin!"

NO Bernie, it had to do with the fact that your father came to the USA almost 100 years ago!

Things have changed a bit since 1920.

rcocean said...

BTW, we had 100 million in the USA in 1920. We have 320 million now. How many would Bernie consider too much? 500 million? A billion?

Someone ask him.

Beldar said...

Thanks, JAC -- you spared me a lot of boredom.

MikeR said...

"Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin!" Perhaps his father entered legally? Does that make any difference to anyone?