The three remaining Democratic candidates for president took the stage Sunday night in South Carolina for the NBC News Democratic Debate. This event was moderated by Lester Holt and sponsored by YouTube and the Congressional Black Caucus. By most accounts, the debate focused almost exclusively on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, leaving Martin O’Malley begging for time to answer questions and discuss the various topics.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
NBC News Democratic Debate
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Transcript: Washington Post
Here is the complete video of the fourth Democratic debate:
Report from Fox News:
Hillary Clinton sharpened her attacks on insurgent rival Bernie Sanders at their final debate before the Iowa caucuses, accusing him of trying to “tear” up ObamaCare and siding with the gun lobby – as Sanders denied the claims and said he’s the candidate with the “momentum” in the race.
Reflecting the tougher tone on the campaign trail in recent days, the debate Sunday in Charleston, S.C., saw Clinton aggressively challenging the Vermont senator’s record in a bid to arrest his rise in the polls. In a throwback to the 2008 race, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state also stressed her experience and readiness for the job, as Sanders bluntly called – repeatedly – for “political revolution.”
Highlighting that divide, Clinton slammed Sanders for his universal health plan to offer “Medicare for all,” the details of which were released just hours before the debate. Clinton said she wants to improve on ObamaCare, but accused Sanders of moving to unravel the Obama administration’s signature domestic policy.
“I do not want to see the Republicans repeal it, and I don’t want to see us start over again with a contentious debate,” Clinton said. “To tear it up and start over again … I think is the wrong direction.”
Sanders fired back, calling some of Clinton’s criticism “nonsense.”
He said he wants to move to “Medicare for all” in order to provide health care “as a right” and extend insurance to the millions who still don’t have it. His plan calls for an array of tax hikes to pay for it.
As for the existing law, he said, “We’re not going to tear up the Affordable Care Act — I helped write it.”
The tone an intensity was the highest it’s been since the campaign started. Sanders and Clinton both came prepared to attack and defend knowing that this would be likely the only debate that many last-minute Democratic voters will see before the Iowa caucus happens on February 1. Clinton came out much stronger against Sanders than prior debates, most likely a response to his threatening poll numbers in New Hampshire and his increasing support in Iowa. The polls next week will give us a good idea of how this debate is resonating with voters.