Clinton, Sanders Quickly Take Gloves Off
Democrats tangle on gun control, health care
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 17, 2016 8:47 PM CST
Updated Jan 17, 2016 9:00 PM CST
Martin O'Malley, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders stand together before the NBC-YouTube Democratic debate, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, SC.   (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
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(Newser) – Ready to rumble, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders jumped into Sunday's presidential debate by quickly tangling over who's tougher on gun control and sketching differing visions for health care in America. It's the last Democratic matchup before voting in the 2016 race begins in two weeks, with both sides intent on seizing the momentum. Clinton rapped Sanders for voting repeatedly with the National Rifle Association, and then welcomed his weekend reversal to support legislation that would deny gun manufacturers legal immunity. Sanders released his plan for a single-payer health care plan just hours before the debate, and used his opening statement to call for health care "for every man, woman, and child as a right." Highlights, per the New York Times and Politico:

  • Clinton on Sanders: "He has voted with the NRA, with the gun lobby numerous times. He voted for what we call the Charleston loophole. He voted for immunity from gun makers and sellers, which the NRA said was the most important piece of gun legislation in 20 years."
  • Sanders responds that Clinton "is very disingenuous" and that "I am in an excellent position" to push for gun control.
  • Sanders on whether he can win: "As Secretary Clinton well knows, when this campaign started, she was 50 points ahead of me. We were all of 3 percentage points. Guess what, in Iowa, New Hampshire, the race is very very close. Maybe we're ahead in New Hampshire."
  • Clinton on whether black lives matter less: "Sadly, it is reality. It has been heartbreaking, and incredibly outraging, to see the constant stories of young men like Walter Scott, who have been killed by police officers. There needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system."
  • Sanders on where he differs from Clinton on Wall Street: "The first difference is I don’t take money from big banks. I don’t get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs."
  • Martin O'Malley on money he took from Wall Street: "Yes, but I haven't gotten a penny this year... so somebody please, go on to"
  • Clinton on her old boss: "I’m going to defend Dodd-Frank and I’m going to defend President Obama." As for Sanders, "he’s criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street and President Obama has led our country out of the great recession. Sen. Sanders has called him weak, disappointing, he even in 2011 sought someone to run in a primary against President Obama."
  • O'Malley seems to struggle for relevance but says the three candidates "actually believe in science." He says Democrats should commit to "a 100% clean electricity grid by 2050."
The Washington Post has a transcript here.