Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both did quite well during the debate on Tuesday night. For two hours, each of the five candidates spoke about the issues and actually debated. It was a refreshing transition from the trainwreck of the Republican field.
Here’s a quick recap of the debate’s highlights:
Bernie Sanders defended being a democratic socialist. Moderator Anderson Cooper asked why Americans should elect a socialist. “We’re going to explain what a democratic socialist is,” said Sanders. He then explained the key points of his platform: income inequality and health care.
Sanders and Clinton argued about the Brady Bill, a gun control law. Clinton was asked if Sanders was tough enough on gun manufacturers.
“No, not at all,” Clinton said “He was going to give immunity…Everybody else has to be accountable, but not the gun manufacturers.”
Lincoln Chafee added that there should more dialogue with the gun lobby to correct the misinformation that the left is trying to take away everyone’s guns.
When the conversation moved to foreign policy, Clinton blamed much of the strain between the US and Russia on President Vladimir Putin.
“We got a lot of business done with the Russians when Medvedev was president,” Clinton said, referring to former Russian President and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “When putin came back in and said he was going to be president that did change the relationship.”
Chafee noted that Clinton’s vote of support for the Iraq War was a huge mistake.
“You’re looking at someone who made that poor decision…when there was no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” he said. “I know, because I did my homework.”
Some time later, Sanders was asked about his opposition to a comprehensive 2007 immigration bill. He was accused of “leaving immigrants at the altar” by one of the moderators.
I didn’t leave anybody at the altar, I voted against that piece of legislation because it had guest worker provision in it which the Southern Policy Law center talked about being semi-slavery. Guest workers are coming in, they’re working under terrible conditions, but if they stand up for their rights they’re thrown out of the country. I was not the only progressive to vote against that legislation for that reason. My view right now…is that when you have 11 million undocumented people in this country we need comprehensive immigration reform, we need a path toward citizenship, we need to take people out of the shadows.
The debate closed with a single question for all five candidates: Which enemy that you’ve made in your career are you most proud of?
Chafee: “The coal lobby. I’ve worked hard for climate change and I want to work with the coal lobby.”
O’Malley: “The National Rifle Association.”
Clinton: “In addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians, probably the Republicans.”
Sanders: “As someone who has taken on probably every special interest that there is in Washington, I would lump Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry at the top of my list of people who don’t like me.”
Webb: “The enemy soldier who threw the grenade that wounded me but he’s not around right now to talk to.”
Watch the debate in its entirety below.
For more highlights, visit CBS News “In Democratic debate, candidates tangle on gun control, Wall Street reform” and CBS News “In Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton sticks to her script and emerges unscathed”