Bernie Sanders Has Excellent Night At Democratic Forum While Hillary Clinton Dodges Questions On Her Record

MSNBC Democratic Forum

We might  have had a full debate rather than a series of interviews at Democratic Forum hosted by Rachel Maddow if not for the limitations on debates imposed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but Friday did have a series of good interviews with the Democratic candidates.  Martin O’Malley was interviewed first and overall did well, including taking jabs at both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Still he felt like the warm up act before the main show, with his campaign remaining in serious trouble.

Salon is calling Bernie Sanders’ interview his best moment in weeks,  and he  also received excellent reviews at Slate. This included Sanders getting  the opportunity to explain his strong civil rights record as seen in this video:

And the event included this opportunity for Sanders to be charming and funny:

Plus Sanders  criticized Hillary Clinton on issues including the Keystone Pipeline, campaign finance reform, and deploying troops to Syria:

“Now to me, as opposed to maybe some other unnamed candidates, the issue of Keystone was kind of a no-brainer,” Sanders said, pointing to President Obama’s decision earlier that day to block the TransCanadian oil pipeline. “So I said no to the Keystone on day one.”

Though Sanders complained that it was largely the media trying to play up animosity between the two, “begging me to beat up on Hillary Clinton,” Sanders did take the bait in a way he hasn’t in the past.

“Now, I have many disagreements with Hillary Clinton. And one of them is that I don’t think it’s good enough just to talk the talk on campaign finance reform. You’ve got to walk the walk,” he said.

Sanders also said he was opposed to President Obama’s recent decision to deploy special operation forces to Syria to help battle ISIS. Pointing out he had opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, unlike Clinton, the Vermont senator said he did “not want to see us get in — sucked into a quagmire of which there may be no end.”

Sanders also criticized Republicans for being cowards in trying to suppress the vote, and criticized campaign coverage by corporate media.

Hillary Clinton did have to dodge a bunch of questions. This included her relationship with Wall Street and her opposition to ending capital punishment:

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton says the Wall Street bankers who gave her millions of dollars don’t have any influence over her policy positions.

Asked whether she is too close to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street special interests to “reel them in,” Clinton replied that “anybody who thinks that they can influence what I can do doesn’t know me very well.”

“They can actually look and see what I have said and done throughout my career,” Clinton told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow at the First in the South Presidential Candidates Forum at Rock Hill, S.C. on Friday.

“I went to Wall Street. I went to the NASDAQ in December 2007 and basically said, ‘You guys have got to stop it. What you are doing is not only a disaster for home owners because of the mortgage foreclosures … but it’s going to have dire consequences for our country.’ ”

Clinton answered most questions confidently, but seemed to get tripped up when Maddow asked about her support for the death penalty – a position opposed by many on the left, including Democratic primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Clinton’s answer — crammed with qualifiers — suggested an extreme ambivalence in her position.

Saying they have to stop it is no more convincing than when she said she told Wall Street to cut it out in the first debate.

Maddow also challenged Clinton on her recent fallacious comments on DOMA. She listed areas where Clinton wanted to go use military force contrary to others in the Obama administration, questioning if the election of Hillary Clinton would be more likely to get us into a war. Clinton ignored the examples cited by Maddow, and her long hawkish history, claiming she preferred diplomacy, despite her record, including Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Both Sanders and O’Malley have recently disagreed with Clinton on deploying troops to  Syria.

Clinton also dodged answering questions as to whether she was an introvert or extrovert, and one question which she cannot be blamed for not being able to answer. Maddow asked which of the Republican candidates she would chose as her running mate if they were her only choices, and who could blame Clinton for rejecting them all?

Update: Saturday Night Live’s take on the Democratic Forum can be seen here. Larry David was again fantastic with his impersonation of Bernie Sanders.

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7 Comments

  1. 1
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    O'Malley is the last clean version of Hillary in the race, now that Joe B is definitely out.

    Funny the media don't see it – or say it – that way.

    Nor any significant number of voters.

    How many who support Hill do so only because they think O'Malley can't win and Bernie is too far left for them (and/or can't win)?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Claiming Sanders is unelectable is one of the big talking points spread by the Clinton campaign–just as they claimed Obama was unelectable eight years ago.

    I'm not entirely sure why O'Malley just hasn't caught on. The problem might be that he is basically a liberal establishment candidate. Many Clinton supporters do not realize how conservative Clinton is, and there is not a huge longing for a liberal establishment candidate. Sanders has captured the insurgent vote with O'Malley seeming too establishment for those looking for a true insurgent candidate. I

  3. 3
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Another mystery is why Hill has such a lock on the black and Hispanic votes.

    Bernie remains stuck in a grove, with support only or almost only among white progressives.

    Why?

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    It is not true that Sanders has support almost only among white progressives. If that was the case, he would not be polling as well as or better than Clinton in head to head races against Republicans.

    Sanders support extends to liberal and moderates, with Sanders stronger among independents.

    Clinton is doing better among minorities but there is growing support for Sanders. It is a matter of getting out the word that Sanders has the better record.

  5. 5
    philo vaihinger says:

    In your first sentence you deny what I did not say.

    In your third you admit it.

    Nice, Ron.

     

     

     

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Not at all. You clearly misunderstand what I said.

  7. 7
    mikeb says:

    Look at what just happened in South Carolina which until now was considered safe Clinton country. Black politicians endorse Bernie. I think you will see HRC support start to get smaller among people of color.

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