Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Divisions on Wall Street, Foreign Policy Animate Democratic Debate

4 NH debate

The differences between former Secretary Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential contest were laid bare at last night’s debate in Durham, NH with Sanders giving a forceful argument on economic issues and wall street while Hillary Clinton towered over her competition as the debate moved on to foreign affairs.

In response to a question from MSNBC moderator Chuck Todd about which foreign nations posed the greatest threat to the United States, Sanders gave a meandering, vague answer reminiscent of Ben Carson in response. Eventually, he pivoted back to safe territory and invoked his opposition to the Iraq war vote 14 years ago.

Clinton dismissed Sanders’ assessment, saying “a vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS.”

“I want a president who is battle-tested before she gets there and doesn’t have to learn on the job and hope that some theory will get you through. I want a president who understands foreign policy” exclaimed former Vermont Governor Howard Dean to the crowd at a Clinton rally after the debate.

Dean, who served as governor when Sanders was elected to the US Senate from the state, was briefly the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2004 before his campaign imploded just before the Iowa Caucuses. Dean is known as a stalwart progressive who previously served as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and founded the progressive organization Democracy for America (DFA).

Clinton did take some hits throughout the night particularly around her speaking engagements at financial institutions. Sanders took Clinton to task for her close ties to Wall Street and to the Democratic Party establishment, charging that “what being part of the establishment is, is, in the last quarter, having a super PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one’s life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests,”

“They wanted me to talk about the world,” was her response as to why she accept those fees in the first place. But in a more pointed and effective dismissal of Sanders’ attacks on her record as not being sufficiently progressive or too cozy to Wall Street, Clinton offered a remark that is sure to go down as one of the most memorable of the campaign, saying “it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out.”

Voting takes place on Tuesday and polls show Sanders is ahead by as much as 31% in his neighboring state.

 

Washington Post, Politico