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.