Clinton And Sanders Have Spirited Debate Ahead Of Important New York Primary

On Thursday evening CNN hosted a Democratic debate in New York City that saw the two Democratic presidential candidates getting into feisty exchanges and vying for crucial support from New Yorkers ahead of an important primary nominating contest next Tuesday in the Empire State.

Both Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have personal and career connections to New York and emphasized them during the debate on Thursday evening.

Clinton currently leads by double digits (22 points) over Sanders in New York, according to a recent Marist  Poll.

Although Sanders has been gaining momentum by winning in Michigan and several western states in recent weeks, he still trails Clinton by 251 pledged delegates in the all-important delegate count.

The delegate deficit grows wider when adding Clinton’s 469 Super delegates to Sander’s 31 which brings the total to 1,758 to 1,069.

There are 2,383 delegates needed for nomination.

New York has 247 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday April 19th.

Clinton remains popular in New York City and served 2 terms as a state senator where she worked to secure rebuilding funds for lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks.

Sanders grew up in Brooklyn.

Early on in the debate, a testy exchange occurred between the two candidates after Sanders was asked about some questions he raised on the campaign trail concerning Secretary Clinton’s qualifications to become president.

Sanders agreed that Clinton is qualified but admitted that he questions her judgment since she voted for the Iraq War and is connected with Super PAC’s.

Clinton responded, “I’ve been called a lot of things in my life. That was a first.”

Clinton later explained that New York voters twice voted for her as senator and President Obama asked her to serve as U.S. Secretary of State.

Clinton dug in her heels and fired back at Sanders’ own judgment after mentioning his disastrous April 1st interview with the editorial staff from the New York Daily News that saw him struggling to explain in simple terms how he’d like to break up banks and deal with counterterrorism.

“When asked, he could not explain how that would be done…..when asked about a number of foreign policy issues, he could not answer about Afghanistan, about Israel, about counterterrorism, except to say if he’d had some paper in front of him, maybe he could” Clinton said.

“I think you need to have the judgment on day one to be both president and commander-in-chief ” Clinton added.

Sanders emphasized he led opposition to the Iraq War and sought to cast a dark shadow on Clinton’s past connections with big money interests.

Clinton pointed out that President Obama had a super PAC during his presidential campaigns and yet was still not at all influenced  by big money interests when he made the decision to pass and sign the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which is considered to be among the toughest financial regulations.

Asked by CNN Moderator Dana Bash to name one decision that Clinton made as senator that shows that he favored banks because of the money she received, Sanders scrambled to come up with a credible answer and replied with his usual recycled stump speech material, blaming Wall Street and banks for the economic crash that occurred eight years ago when President Obama first began his presidency.

“Sure. Sure. The obvious decision is when the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of wall street brought this country into the worst economic downturn since the Great Recession — the Great Depression of the ’30s, when millions of people lost their jobs, and their homes, and their life savings, the obvious response to that is that you’ve got a bunch of fraudulent operators and that they have got to be broken up” Sanders said.

“That was my view way back, and I introduced legislation to do that. Now, Secretary Clinton was busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 a speech” Sanders continued.
Clinton recognized that Sanders had failed to answer the question and replied, ” Well, you can tell, Dana, he cannot come up with any example, because there is no example.”
Clinton said that she stood up against the behaviors of the banks when she was a senator but made a sharp distinction with Sander’s calls to go a step further and break up banks.
“You don’t just say, go break them up. You have a law, because we are a nation of laws” Clinton said.
Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash about her reluctance to release the transcript of a paid speech that she gave to Goldman Sach’s, Clinton said “there isn’t an issue” and explained that she is the only one on the stage who did not vote to deregulate swaps and derivatives, as Senator Sanders did, which led to a lot of  financial problems with Lehman Brothers.
When  pressed further about releasing the transcripts, Clinton gave a series of explanations.
“I have said, look, there are certain — there are certain expectations when you run for president. This is a new one. And I’ve said, if everybody agrees to do it — because there are speeches for money on the other side. I know that” Clinton said.  Clinton called on every candidate, including Senator Sanders, and Donald Trump to release their tax returns.
Sanders replied that he would release his tax returns and admitted that his wife Jane does their taxes.
Questioned by CNN host Wolf Blitzer about his recent criticism of American corporations General Electric and Verizon for moving jobs outside of the U.S. and then reminded that the CEO of Verizon called his views contemptable after Verizon has invested more than $16 million and pays millions of dollars a year to local businesses in Vermont, Sanders replied he would tell Verizon’s CEO to “start negotiating with the Communication Workers of America.”
Sanders falsely claimed during the debate that General Electric and Verizon “pay nothing in federal income tax despite making billions in profits.”
On Wednesday Sanders joined 36,000 Verizon workers on strike and offered stinging criticism against Verizon CEO Lowell Mc Adam for the way he runs his company.
“This is just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans” Sanders said on Wednesday during the Verizon strike.
CEO McAdam fired back at Sanders in a  letter titled Feeling the Bern of Reality posted on LinkedIn on Wednesday in which he emphasized that Verizon pays the 35 percent corporate tax and paid $ 15.6 billion in taxes over 2 years.
He also defended some of his cost cutting measures that includes moving a call center out of the country.
CEO McAdam wrote that Sanders “fudged his language” when talking of Verizon not paying U.S. taxes.
“I understand that rhetoric gets heated in a Presidential campaign. I also get that big companies are an easy target for candidates looking for convenient villains for the economic distress felt by many of our citizens. But when rhetoric becomes disconnected from reality, we’ve crossed a dangerous line. We deserve better from people aspiring to be President. At the very least, we should demand that candidates base their arguments on the facts … even when they don’t fit their campaign narratives” McAdam wrote.
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