|Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) debate during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Credit: Getty Images|
By Associated Press,
"New York— Deepening their increasingly bitter feud, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders aggressively challenged each other's judgment to be president in Thursday night's Democratic debate, sparring over qualifications, Wall Street banks and gun control.
"The showdown in Brooklyn came at a pivotal moment in the party's primary campaign, with Clinton leading in the delegate count but Sanders generating huge enthusiasm for his surprising candidacy. The debate also left no doubt that a rivalry that once centered on wonkish policy disagreements has turned strikingly personal.
"Clinton is eyeing a victory in Tuesday's primary in her adopted home state of New York. That win would blunt Sanders' recent momentum, which included his victory in Wisconsin's April 5 primary, and would put his pursuit of the nomination further out of reach. However, a Sanders upset of Clinton would shake up the race, raising fresh concerns about her candidacy and breathing new life into the Vermont senator's campaign.
"With the stakes so high, Sanders took a biting and often sarcastic tone as he sought to chip away at Clinton's credibility on issue after issue. He went as far as to suggest that her labeling of certain criminals as 'superpredators' when she was first lady was 'a racist term and everybody knew it was a racist term.'
"Sanders also cited Clinton's support for the unpopular Iraq War and for free trade agreements, as well as her willingness to accept money through a super PAC, as evidence that she lacks the needed judgment to lead the nation. Still, he backed away from previous statements questioning Clinton's qualifications, saying the former secretary of state does have the 'experience and intelligence' to be president.
"Clinton made little effort to hide her irritation with Sanders' implication that she is unqualified, saying that while she has been "called a lot of things in my life, that was a first." She repeatedly linked herself to President Barack Obama, who remains popular among Democrats, suggesting that Sanders' criticism of her amounted to condemnation of the president.
"Clinton also cast Sanders as a policy lightweight who is unprepared to implement even his signature proposals, including breaking up big banks. And she chided Sanders for chuckling during an exchange on gun control, an area where she has painted him as cozy with gun dealers and manufacturers.
"'It's not a laughing matter,' she said. 'I take it really seriously because I have spent more time than I care to remember being with people who have lost their loved ones.'
"The debate was the first for the Democratic candidates in five weeks. It came days before the New York primary, with a huge cache of delegates at stake.
"The raucous crowd loudly cheered their candidates and occasionally booed their foes. In response, at one point Clinton said with a smile, "I love Brooklyn."
"The Democratic primary has been fought for months on familiar terrain. Clinton has cast Sanders' proposals for breaking up banks and offering free tuition at public colleges and universities as unrealistic. Sanders has accused Clinton of being part of a rigged economic and political system, hammering her repeatedly for giving paid speeches to Wall Street banks and refusing to release the transcripts.
"Clinton continued to struggle to explain why she has not released the transcripts, saying only that she will do so when other candidates are required to do the same. She tried to raise questions about Sanders' own openness for not releasing his income taxes.
"The senator pledged to release his most recent tax returns on Friday and said there would be 'no big money from speeches, no major investments' in the disclosures."
Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/clinton-sanders-debate-gets-testy-b99707152z1-375801771.html
I haven't checked lately. Does Bernie still look like he's on the edge of a stroke?