Clinton, Sanders face off in final debate before SC primary

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Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders squared off in a key Democratic debate Thursday night. (WLS)

Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders squared off in a key Democratic debate Thursday night at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Sanders once again put on his reformer hat, promising real change. But Clinton came out swinging, questioning whether Sanders is all talk.

The debate began with questions about the size of government, with Sanders proposing free healthcare and college for all paid for by taxes on the rich and corporations.

"When today you have massive levels of income and wealth inequality... yes, in my view the government of a democratic society has a moral responsibility to play a vital role in making sure that all of our people have a decent standard of living," Sanders said.

Clinton said Sanders' plan would increase the size of government by 40-percent and questioned whether it's achievable.

"Every progressive economist who has analyzed that says that the numbers don't add up, and that's a promise that cannot be kept," she said.

With both candidates courting minorities ahead of the South Carolina primary and Nevada caucuses, there was agreement on the need for reform in the criminal justice system.

"We have to restore policing that's sworn to protect," Clinton said.

"We need to end over-policing," Sanders said.

Clinton was asked about controversial comments made by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at her rally.

"There's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women," Albright said.

"She's been saying that for 25 years, but it doesn't change my view that we need to empower everyone - women and men - to make the best decisions," Clinton said.

And Sanders was asked if he'd be thwarting history by denying America its first female president.

"Well, as someone with my record, electing me would be history," he said.

Perhaps the most heated exchange came when Sanders accused Clinton of accepting millions in campaign donations from Wall Street. Clinton said the money was given to a Super PAC, not directly to her campaign, to which Sanders responded "Let's not insult the intelligence of the American people."
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Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off in a key Democratic debate Thursday night in Milwaukee.


Sanders is hoping to broaden his support and build on his momentum, while Clinton attempts to hit the reset button after a stinging loss in New Hampshire.

Since her sound defeat in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton has been courting young voters, and in particular, young minorities.

She and Sanders essentially split the non-white vote in New Hampshire - a surprise because Clinton was polling well nationally with blacks and Latinos. But while Clinton won older minorities in New Hampshire, Sanders won minorities younger than 30 by a 2:1 margin.

On Thursday, Clinton was endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC as civil rights icon, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), took a dig at Sanders.

"I never saw him. I never met him," he said. "But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton."

But Sanders has his own supporters. The senator met Wednesday with the Rev. Al Sharpton, and he was endorsed Thursday by activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte.

"I think he represents opportunity. I think he represents a moral imperative. I think he represents a certain kind of truth that's not often evidenced in the course of politics," Belafonte said.

Related Topics:
politicspoliticsdebatedemocratsbernie sandershillary clintonWisconsin
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