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Bernie Sanders Wins Democrats’ Eighth Debate as Hillary Clinton Remains Prisoner of Caution
Posted on Mar 9, 2016
8:12 p.m. PST: Some people call CNN the Clinton News Network. For good reason. The debate has been over for more than 10 minutes and nine minutes of the analysis has been about Clinton. That’s the way mainstream news coverage will go for the rest of the Democratic race. Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate. Bernie Sanders is the anti-establishment candidate. Buckle up: The ride is going to get bumpy if the American people continue to go against the mainstream media, as they did in Michigan.
8:01 p.m. PST: From Truthdig’s Bill Boyarsky:
8:00 p.m. PST: The audience is yelling for Bernie. Some are yelling for Hillary. It was a boisterous audience in Miami.
7:58 p.m. PST: Now, it’s time for the pundits. First impressions from CNN: Clinton took punches from Sanders and the moderators. Sanders didn’t respond well to the video about Cuba. Sanders had a swagger coming off the Michigan primary win. Sanders was specific about how he would help Hispanics; Clinton was broader. Sanders used sarcastic humor against Clinton. If her speeches were so great, wouldn’t you want us all to read them? You must be under the influence of corporations and Wall Street if you are unwilling to be transparent.
They don’t like each other. Clinton seemed annoyed much of the night. She did not think Sanders still would be in this race. She is surprised he is able to raise so much money online with so much ease.
Clinton doesn’t understand why so many Democrats don’t trust her. In so many words, she is saying, “Why don’t people like me? I have feelings.” She wants people to know she is doing the best she can. Her time in politics has hardened her. She doesn’t know the difference between a tough question and an attack. She has strengths as a political leader and is intelligent, but she doesn’t have a visceral political sense. She is a workhorse, not a show horse. Saying she is not a natural politician is Clinton’s way of saying she is authentic. Sanders is authentic. With the Vermont senator, what you see is what you get.
Time will tell which approach resonates most with the American people.
7:57 p.m. PST: It was a lively debate. The moderators remind everyone, especially Latinos, to get out and vote. Who does not vote doesn’t count. Don’t let others decide for you.
7:54 p.m. PST: Closing thoughts:
Clinton: Break down barriers. Create jobs. Raise incomes. Take on education barriers. Take on health care barriers. We will find common ground. I will stand my ground. Give me your support on Tuesday.
Sanders: Wonderful debate. Limited time. Important issues have not been raised. Is it acceptable that one-tenth of Americans control wealth? Is it acceptable for billionaires to buy elections? Is that democracy or oligarchy? Is it right that young people cannot afford to go to college or leave college without debt? We can do better. That is why I am running for president.
He gets a standing ovation.
7:42 p.m. PST: Welcome to Miami. Latin America is the focus. CNN plays a 1985 clip of Sanders speaking about Cuba, Fidel Castro and a “revolution of values.” Sanders explains he did not mean that he supported authoritarianism. He says it is not the United States’ job to be overthrowing small countries around the world. Clinton senses an opportunity and pounces: “That is not the type of revolutionary values I support,” she says.
7:35 p.m. PST: From Truthdig’s Bill Boyarsky:
7:31 p.m. PST: Clinton keeps speaking after Sanders is given the microphone. Like the Energizer Bunny, she keeps going and going. After around 30 seconds, Sanders gets the opportunity to talk, and moderator Jorge Ramos tells him, “This is your debate.” The journalist meant to say “time,” but the subliminal message is clear. Sometimes, the more one says, the less it means.
7:28 p.m. PST: Revolution is in the house. Asked how to solve the problem of climate change, Sanders says, “We need a political revolution.”
7:25 p.m. PST: Important point in this debate: The issue is health care. Both Democratic candidates support universal health care. Clinton says we are 90 percent there with the Affordable Care Act. Sanders disagrees. Do 90 percent of Americans have insurance? Not if they have outrageously high deductibles and co-pays. People cannot afford their pills. Sanders is for a single-payer plan. Clinton wants to make the Affordable Care Act work.
7:17 p.m. PST: Sanders channels Larry David and reminds us that we have yuuuge problems in America. Raise the minimum wage. Provide universal health care. Rebuild crumbling infrastructure. Create 13 million jobs. He gets a huge round of applause.
7:12 p.m. PST: Career politician versus establishment politician. Why should we trust Sanders? Look at his record, he says. He supports the environment, workers, seniors. He doesn’t take money from the fossil fuel industry, the pharmaceutical industry. Yes, he is a career politician, and no politician is a perfect presidential candidate. But his record has fewer holes than most career politicians.
7:08 p.m. PST: Bill Boyarsky, Truthdig political correspondent and former Los Angeles Times city editor, will be providing analysis for us throughout our live blog. Here are his thoughts on the responses from each candidate regarding the immigration issue:
7:02 p.m. PST: No softball questions from Ramos. He asks Clinton about Benghazi—did she say one thing in public and one thing in private? She cites her 11-hour testimony before a GOP-led House committee.
Sanders cites The New York Times investigation that both called Hillary a hawk and reported how Clinton helped turn Libya into a “terrorist haven” for Islamic State.
6:57 p.m. PST: We have touched a nerve. Clinton basically called out Wall Street. Her words, not ours. This is her response to Sanders’ call to release the transcripts for her talks to Goldman Sachs. Weak.
Sanders points out that Clinton has received $15 million from Wall Street companies. He continues to call for reform of a corrupt campaign financing system. Citizens United has got to go.
Clinton counters with a low blow, putting Sanders’ name in the same sentence with the Koch brothers.
“Nobody has taken on the Koch brothers more than Bernie Sanders,” Sanders says.
6:52 p.m. PST: If it looks like a duck and quacks like duck, chances are it’s a duck. A majority of people in the United States find Clinton to be untrustworthy. She says she is not a natural politician like her husband or President Obama. She could have fooled us.
6:50 p.m. PST:: A woman in the audience whose husband was deported shares her story and asks a question in Spanish that is translated into English: What is your plan to reunite families and thousands of children and U.S. citizens with their children? Both Sanders and Clinton say they will do all they can to unite families.
6:47 p.m. PST: Sanders and Clinton can agree on one thing: Unlike Donald Trump, they will not resort to racism, xenophobia and bigotry to solve the immigration problem.
6:46 p.m. PST: Clinton channels Kate McKinnon and draws some laughs when asked how the wall she proposes to build is different from the wall Trump proposes to build. His wall is bigger than mine, she says. His wall is more beautiful than mine. Clinton is proposing sensible border enforcement. This is the biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans want to deport 100 percent. Democrats want to deport zero percent.
6:41 p.m. PST: For the second time in the debate, Clinton says Sanders supported the Minutemen militia group—a false statement, and Sanders calls her out on it. He explains that Clinton magnifies small aspects of large pieces of legislation and takes things out of context.
Sanders makes clear that he didn’t support the auto bailout.
Sanders makes clear that he doesn’t support vigilantes.
Sanders closes his point with a strong metaphorical left hook to Clinton: “Madam Secretary, I will match my record against yours any day of the week.”
6:34 p.m. PST: Clinton cannot give a yes-or-no answer to Ramos’ question about whether she will follow in Obama’s footsteps and be the deporter in chief. She waffles. When pressed, she says she will not deport children or those without a criminal record, with a caveat: Granting asylum is a process.
Sanders doesn’t let her get away with the evasive answer. He promises that he won’t deport children or immigrants without a criminal record.
6:33 p.m. PST: What are people talking about on Facebook? For women, the top three issues are the economy, religion and abortion. For men, the top issues are government ethics, racial problems and the economy.
6:28 p.m. PST: The adults are talking. This debate makes the GOP debate look like “Romper Room.” Even when Sanders and Clinton disagree, or when one makes a point the other disagrees with, they express their disagreement in a civilized way. Sanders doesn’t need to play dirty because the truth is a powerful force. But Clinton might have to resort to dirty tactics.
6:19 p.m. PST: Many people think Sanders is more electable than Clinton in a head-to-head general race with Trump. The reason is that Sanders could inspire millions more people—old and new voters—to vote in November.
6:17 p.m. PST: Is Donald Trump a racist? People can make their own conclusions. Good line from Clinton: You don’t make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great.
Sanders has a better line: America is never going to elect a president who insults Mexicans, Muslims and anyone else.
6:16 p.m. PST: The email elephant in the room appears. Clinton would prefer to talk about something else.
6:13 p.m. PST: Ramos discloses that his daughter works for Clinton’s communications team, as he always does.
6:13 p.m. PST: Sanders has started strong.
6:12 p.m. PST: What went wrong in Michigan? Clinton sidesteps the question the first time by saying, with halfhearted enthusiasm, that she is a progressive. She has a hard time convincing herself she’s a progressive. The second time she is pressed on what went wrong in Michigan, she gives a political answer: We win, we lose, we’ll keep battling. She doesn’t want to admit that many more people are standing up for Sanders than anyone projected.
6:08 p.m. PST: Opening thoughts.
Clinton wants to knock down barriers. She wants a positive agenda for manufacturing, entrepreneurship, education and immigration.
Sanders says it’s too late for establishment politics. Billionaires should not be buying elections. No more long hours for low wages. Path toward citizenship. We have to combat climate change. Transform the energy system. Leave the planet healthy and habitable for our children.
They both hit their talking points.
6:02 p.m. PST: Clinton and Sanders are introduced. We don’t have an official audible reading, but the Sanders ovation sounds bigger.
6:01 p.m. PST: Nice to see bilingual coverage—in English and Spanish—on CNN. Expect to see more on English television in the future. Half of the Latino eligible voters are millennials.
6:00 p.m. PST: Time for the main event. Who you got?
5:58 p.m. PST: So far, the Democratic candidates have shown discipline in avoiding personal attacks, compared with the Republicans. We will see if that continues.
5:55 p.m. PST: Five minutes until game time, and the Sanders camp is fired up. Earlier in the day, Sanders released a statement on Reader Supported News.
How will Clinton respond in the debate?
1:40 p.m. PST: The Michigan primary win gives the Sanders campaign momentum. Here’s what people are saying about the result, which Nate Silver called “one of the greatest primary polling errors in history.”
From Jim Newell of Slate:
From Glenn Thrush of Politico:
To sum up, the Michigan Miracle could turn out to be a historic moment in American politics.
10:38 a.m. PST: Don’t count out Sanders. After his upset win over Clinton in the Michigan primary Tuesday, we learned three things about the Democratic race.
1. Don’t believe the polls. The average of polls in Michigan had Clinton winning the state by 20 points, according to RealClearPolitics. FiveThirtyEight forecast a Clinton win with 99 percent certainty. Polls are fallible.
2. We have a ballgame. Sanders’ win in Michigan guarantees that the Democratic race continues through April and perhaps beyond. The next big primary tests for both candidates are on March 15, next Tuesday, when Democrats vote in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.
3. The Sanders uprising is alive and well. The Clinton camp hoped to win Michigan and cement her status as the Democratic nominee, but the people said, “Not so fast.” While Donald Trump is displaying raw meat, Sanders is trumpeting a message of social and economic equality that is resonating with people. Can Sanders shock the world and win the Democratic nomination over Clinton? Anything is possible in this revolutionary 2016 election season.
“What tonight means is that the Bernie Sanders campaign ... is strong in every part of the country,” Sanders said in Florida on Tuesday night after the Michigan primary win. “We believe our strongest areas are yet to happen.”
Sanders gets another prime-time opportunity to spread his populist message in a debate with Clinton on Wednesday night at Miami Dade College in Miami. It will be their fourth one-on-one debate and the eighth Democratic debate.
Univision and The Washington Post are hosting the affair. Moderators will be Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post and Maria Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos of Univision.
The festivities start at 9 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. PST, and will air live in Spanish on Univision and be simulcast in English on CNN.
It should be a dramatic night.
—Posted by Eric Ortiz.
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