Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton clashed sharply on which presidential candidate has the tougher plan to rein in the excesses of Wall Street, putting financial reform at the center of a gripping and, at times, passionate first Democratic debate.
“My plan is more comprehensive and frankly it’s tougher,” Clinton said, referring to Wall Street reform proposals offered by Sanders.
Sanders quickly responded: “Not true.”
Clinton continued that shadow banking is the next area of potential concern and that “you may be missing the forest for the trees” by targeting big banks, as Sanders and O’Malley have urged. Her administration would not only give regulators authority to go after big banks, they may also pursue “sending the executives to jail” if needed, she said.
Sanders said the 2016 presidential election is about “whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires” and said Americans will vote for a democratic socialist—how he describes himself—if they understand what it means and that he is not part of the “casino capitalist process.”
Between clashes over policy, there was also a moment of camaraderie between the former secretary of state and the senator, as Sanders sided with her over the scrutiny of the private e-mail account she used while at the State Department. “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails,” he said. Clinton responded by extending her hand toward Sanders, who grabbed it and shook it.
Under fire from the first moments of the debate, Clinton volleyed the attacks energetically. She frequently alluded to her history-making ambition of becoming the nation’s “first woman president” and emphasized her own extensive resume.
“I am certainly not running for president because my last name in Clinton,” said the wife of the nation’s 42nd president, Bill Clinton.
During the debate, Clinton repeatedly praised Obama and sought to associate herself with his agenda, calling him a “great moral leader” on criminal justice reform and backing his policies on climate change and the financial reform law. It may be a clever strategy as Obama is immensely popular with Democrats—83 percent approve of his job performance; just 10 percent disapprove in a recent CBS News poll. It is also notable given that Senate Democrats facing reelection in 2014—many campaigning in red states—actively steered clear of Obama.Benghazi Committee.
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