Clinton and Sanders spar over Wall Street, ISIS

In their first head to head debate since Iowa caucuses, Democratic candidates spar over a variety of issues.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Sanders and Clinton
Sanders and Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders went head to head in a televised debate on Thursday night, ahead of the New Hampshire primaries next week.

Polls published ahead of the debate found that Sanders has a 20% lead over Clinton in New Hampshire, where he is considered to have “home field advantage” due to him being a Senator in nearby Vermont.

Clinton and Sanders remain the only two Democratic presidential candidates, as former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley dropped out of the race after coming in a distant third in this week’s Iowa caucuses.

At the debate which aired on MSNBC, the two went back and forth on issues such as health care, college education and Sanders’ definition of “progressive”, when he suggested that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were progressive but Clinton is not.

But the biggest issue of contention seemed to be Sanders’ belief that politics are being influenced by Wall Street.

Sanders described Clinton as being “the establishment candidate”, meaning that she is being influenced by Wall Street. Clinton shot back that Sanders shouldn't insinuate she can be bought, adding it is "quite amusing" for Sanders to call her "establishment" as a woman running to be the first female president.

She further charged that Sanders’ campaign has carried out "very artful smear" against her on her taking money from Wall Street, noting some of the big guns on Wall Street are running ads encouraging Democrats to vote for Sanders instead of her.

Clinton was asked about giving speeches to Wall Street, to which she replied, “I may not have done the job I should have explaining my record. I did go on the speaking circuit.”

“I went to Wall Street before the crash,” she added, then claimed, “I was the one saying you’re going to wreck the economy.”

Clinton said she warned Wall Street about the "risky shenanigans with mortgages" ahead of the 2008 financial collapse.

"I will be the person who prevents them from ever wrecking the economy again,” she declared.

Asked by moderator Chuck Todd whether she would release transcripts of all of her paid speeches, Clinton replied, "I will look into it."

The two also discussed the terror threat, particularly from the Islamic State (ISIS). On the question of combating the jihadist organization, both Sanders and Clinton said they agreed with Obama’s plan of arming more Arab and Kurdish forces and providing special forces.

Sanders, however, once again brought up Clinton’s vote in favor of the Iraq war in 2002, to which Clinton replied, “A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS. We have to look at the threats we face now.”

As for Iran, Clinton boasted that she “put together the coalition” that began talks with Iran which led to the nuclear deal, but also said “that is not our only problem with Iran” which is “the principal state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”

Clinton noted that Iran supports Lebanon and Hamas against Israel and that “you need to get action for action” and as such, there is no reason to normalize ties with Iran at the moment.

Sanders said the United States “should not normalize relations with Iran tomorrow”, but also pointed out that just a few years ago no one thought it would be possible to normalize relations with Cuba either.

“I’d like to see us move forward [on Iran],” he said, before taking a jab at Clinton and reminding her that she disagreed with then-Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign about whether to meet with America's enemies.

"I think those are exactly the people we should talk to," Sanders said.

Clinton replied and said, "Let me correct the record, as I certainly recall the question was to meet with without conditions. And you're right, I was against that then, I would be against that now."