With almost a month before South Carolina’s First in the South primary, the three Democrats fighting for the presidential nomination doubled down in last night’s NBC-You Tube debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston. Here are a few of the highlights:
Gun rights and safety took center stage first, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminding viewers of the mass shooting at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME church this past summer, “not a block from here where we had nine people murdered.”
In this interchange, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley scored a point against the other two, saying, “They’ve both been inconsistent when it comes to this issue (gun safety legislation).
Clinton highlights racial issues, which play prominently in the South Carolina primary. Debate moderator Lester Holt ushered Clinton from the topic of gun violence to racial disparities and the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed man fleeing from police in Charleston:
Her closing statement was about her “outrage” over the water poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan. ‘where the population is poor in many ways and majority African American.”
Obamacare, its effectiveness and its future sparked some of the best back-and-forth of the night, with Clinton defending the president, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defending his vision of universal health care:
Sanders stands up for Clinton again, sort of.
When asked about former president Bill Clinton’s sexual transgressions in The White House, Sanders responded much like he did when asked about Clinton’s email investigation in the first debate of the primary season: “That question annoys me.”
He went on to say he wants to talk about the real issues only.
Sanders says opponents are too cozy with Wall Street
Sanders restated his distrust of the financial services industry, and his opinion that its influence tainted his opponents as well as President Obama.
“We’ve got to get rid of super PACS, we’ve got to get rid of Citizens United,” Sanders added in his closing statement.
Clinton, in her rebuttal, defended the president, the Dodd Frank law and his attempts to regulate Wall Street and big banks.
“The hedge fund billionaires—funded by money from the financial services sector—I’m the one they don’t want to run against, ” she added.
Leading up to Sunday night’s debate Clinton was ahead of Sanders by 25 points according to the latest results from the national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.