The Second Democratic Presidential debate was marked by the attacks of Hillary Clinton by Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley on different topics including foreign policy, Wall Street and domestic policies.
The debate held at the Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, the first nominating state for the 2016 Elections started off with the Democrat candidates bowing their heads and addressing the Paris terrorist attacks that happened 24 hours prior to the debate and left 129 victims of Jihadi extremists.
The debate quickly turned a more feisty tone with Sanders and O’Malley unleashing their criticism of Hillary Clinton’s vote in 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq, while she was a Senator from New York and linked her vote to the development of the chaos in the Middle Eastern region and the rise of ISIS. Clinton reiterated that the war in Iraq was the greatest mistake in foreign policy in the United States history.
According to Reuters, he said “I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, unraveled the region immensely, and led to the rise of Al Qaeda and to ISIS. I don’t think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now.”
Clinton got her chance to respond and stated that her vote should be placed within a historical context of years of terrorism prior to the Iraq invasion. She said “This is an incredibly complicated region of the world. It’s become more complicated. And many of the fights that are going on are not ones that the United States has either started or have a role in.” She also added that the countries from the Middle Eastern region should lead the fight against extremists and said “It cannot be an American fight. And I think what the President has consistently said, which I agree with, is that we will support those who take the fight to ISIS.”
However, she distanced herself a bit from President Barack Obama’s statement he made on Friday that ISIS is contained, saying that it “cannot be contained, it must be defeated.”
The debate turned to domestic policies and reigning Wall Street, which Bernie Sanders has been opposing for a long time and he just reiterated his claims that breaking up Wall Street and reinstating Glass-Steagall would bring the middle class back on track. He also criticized Clinton for getting campaign donations from Wall Street and her close ties to financial banks and institutions.
According to Reuters, he stated “Over her political career, Wall Street has been a major, the major donor to Hillary Clinton. Now maybe they are dumb, but I don’t think so.” Clinton quickly responded on the attack of her integrity and said that the majority of her campaign contributors are small donors and 60% of them are women. She also accused Sanders of not having a good enough Wall Street strategy, because not only she would break Wall Street banks, but go even further and make executives responsible. She said “Reinstating Glass-Steagal is a part of what very well could help, but it is nowhere near enough. I just don’t think it would get the job done. I’m all about making sure it actually gets results for whatever we do.”
Martin O’Malley’s debate performance may well be his best moment in the Presidential race, with him stating that he has demonstrated the leadership and results that Clinton and Sanders only talk about, having a great record as Governor of Maryland. However, he stumbled on the question of what in his record would prepare him for a crisis, because he did not have one.
The first nominating contest is in the state of Iowa on the 1st of February and the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been gaining momentum once again against her main rival Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Presidential nomination, while the former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley is trailing behind in single digits at the polls.