The sixth Democratic debate saw Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton square off on Thursday night in Wisconsin, just two days after the senator from Vermont delivered the former secretary of state a shellacking in the New Hampshire primary.
The two battled on the usual fronts — government healthcare, the Iraq War, etc. — however they also invoked President Barack Obama far more than in any other debate.
Gathered below are 11 clashes between Sanders and Clinton that show the Democratic race is heating up.
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1. Sanders slams "establishment" Clinton and her wealthy donors
— "I think what our campaign is indicating is that the American people are tired of establishment politics, tired of establishment economics," the senator said in his opening statement, taking a shot at his opponent at the opposite podium, The Washington Post reported
. "They want a political revolution in which millions of Americans stand up, come together, not let the Trumps of the world divide us, and say, you know what, in this great country, we need a government that represents all of us, not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors."
2. Clinton shoots down Sanders' pie-in-the-sky plans
— Sanders was asked how much larger the government would get under his socialist agenda. He acknowledged there would be a limit, but did not specify where that limit was. That's when Clinton jumped in, saying, "I think that the best analysis that I've seen based on Senator Sanders' plans is that it would probably increase the size of the federal government by about 40 percent." She then attacked his healthcare plan, saying, "Every progressive economist who has analyzed that says that the numbers don't add up, and that's a promise that cannot be kept."
3. Clinton ties herself to Obama
— "You know, before it was called Obamacare, it was called Hillarycare. And I took on the drug companies and I took on the insurance companies to try to get us universal healthcare coverage," said Clinton. "And why I am a staunch supporter of President Obama's principal accomplishment — namely the Affordable Care Act — is because I know how hard it was to get that done." As the Los Angeles Times explained
, "Clinton’s repeated citing of Obama had a practical effect: it was evidence of her loyalty to the nation’s first African-American president at a time when the campaign is moving into states with large minority populations, including Nevada, with its strong percentage of Latino voters, and South Carolina, where African-Americans make up more than half of Democratic voters."
4. Clinton defends Obama, Sanders notes she ran against him
— "Today Senator Sanders said that President Obama failed the presidential leadership test. And this is not the first time that he has criticized President Obama. In the past he has called him weak. He has called him a disappointment," said Clinton. "The kind of criticism that we've heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans. I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama." Sanders called Clinton's attack a "low blow, and fired back: "Well, one of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate."
5. Debaters spar for young voters
— "I will not throw us further into debt," Clinton said while explaining how she would pay for her healthcare plan. "I am conscious of the fact that we have to also be very clear, especially with young people, about what kind of government is going to do what for them and what it will cost." The implication that Sanders doesn't care about costs to young people upset him. "Well, Secretary Clinton, you're not in the White House yet. And let us be clear that every proposal that I have introduced has been paid for," he shot back.
6. Sanders, Clinton compete to praise Obama's executive actions
— "As somebody who is very fond of the president, agrees with him most of the time, I disagree with his recent deportation policies. And I would not support those," he said. In the same breath, he said he agreed with Obama's executive actions on immigration. "Bottom line is a path towards citizenship for 11 million undocumented people, if Congress doesn't do the right thing, we use the executive orders of the president." Clinton then co-opted Sander's praise of the president, saying, "I strongly support the president's executive actions. I hope the Supreme Court upholds them."
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7. Sanders, Clinton compete to show off Kennedy ties
— "I think Ted Kennedy had a very clear idea about what needed to be done. And I was proud to stand with him and support it," Clinton declared, alluding to his 2007 immigration bill. "Well, let me just respond," said Sanders. "I worked with Ted Kennedy. He was the chairman of my committee. And I loved Ted Kennedy. But on this issue, when you have one of the large Latino organizations in America saying vote no, and you have the AFL-CIO saying vote no, and you have leading progressive Democrats, in fact, voting no, I don't apologize for that vote."
8. Sanders uses Clinton's 2008 campaign against her
— "Now, the proposal that I have outlined, you know, should be familiar to you, because it is what essentially Barack Obama campaigned on in 2008. You opposed him then," Sanders said, referring to a Social Security plan.
9. Sanders slams Clinton's Super PAC
— "Secretary Clinton's Super PAC, as I understand it, received $25 million last reporting period, $15 million dollars from Wall Street. Our average contribution is $27 dollars, I'm very proud of that," said Sanders, contrasting his grassroots donors with Clinton's wealthy Super PAC donors. Clinton downplayed the accusation, using Obama a shield: "The Senator is injecting into this is that if you had a Super PAC, like President Obama has, which now says it wants to support me. It's not my PAC." Sanders responded in kind, saying, "Let's not insult the intelligence of the American people. People aren't dumb. Why in God's name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it; they want to throw money around."
10. Sanders hits Clinton for her Iraq War vote, ruining Libya
— "I voted against the war in Iraq because I listened very carefully to what President Bush and Vice President Cheney had to say and I didn't believe them," Sanders said, drawing a contrast with his competitor. "Now I think an area in kind of a vague way, or not so vague, where Secretary Clinton and I disagree is the area of regime change . . . in Libya, for example, the United States, Secretary Clinton, as secretary of state, working with some other countries, did get rid of a terrible dictator named Gadhafi. But what happened is a political vacuum developed. ISIS came in, and now occupies significant territory in Libya, and is now prepared, unless we stop them, to have a terrorist foothold."
11. Sanders slams Clinton for ties to Henry Kissinger
— "I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger," said Sanders, bringing up the Pol Pot genocide and slamming Clinton for seeking his advice as secretary of state. "Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is," said Clinton. "Well, it ain't Henry Kissinger. That's for sure," Sanders shot back.
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