East County News Service
February 7, 2016 (New Hampshire) - In preparation for this week’s New Hampshire primary and others to follow, Democrats and Republicans each held debates among their presidential candidates.
For highlights, scroll down.
The Democratic debate was the first to feature a head-to-head matchup between Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after Maryland governor Martin O’Malley dropped out.
Sanders hammered on his theme of addressing the wealth gap in America and faulted Clinton for her Wall Street ties and vote for the Iraq War, which he opposed. “There is a reason why these people are putting huge amounts of money into our political system,” he said of Wall Street and the Koch brothers, adding, “in my view it is undermining American democracy and it is allowing Congress to represent wealthy campaign contributors and not the working families.”
Clinton touted her foreign policy experience and accused Sanders of an “artful smear” for her acceptance of hefty campaign donations and speaking fees from Wall Street. She claimed, “You will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation I ever received.” She then defined a progressive as “someone who makes progress.”
Prior to the Republican debate, several candidates announced they were dropping out or suspending their candidacies, including Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
In the Republican debate, New Jersey governor Chris Christie took aim at Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who placed third in the Iowa caucus after Senator Ted Cruz and billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Christie slammed Rubio for repeating himself during the debate, stating,“ The memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person.” He also criticized Rubio’s D- record for attendance in the Senate. “That’s not leadership. That’s truancy,” Christie stated.
Ohio governor John Kasich has moved up in the polls in New Hampshire. During the debate, he laid out what he called a "practical" approach to immigration, claimed he would take a compassionate view of conservatism and said he would work across party lines to break gridlock in Congress, insisting, “We can do it.”
Trump, the frontrunner in New Hampshire polls, drew boos after Florida governor Jeb Bush attacked Trump for trying to take land through an eminent domain process for a private business venture. Though Trump has positioned himself as a tough leader, Bush fired back, “How tough is it to take property from an elderly lady?”
Both Trump and Cruz voiced support for bringing waterboarding and denied that this is torture, which Trump indicating he would go further than waterboarding.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson blasted Senator Ted Cruz after revelations that the Cruz campaign falsely told Iowa delegates that Carson had dropped out of the race. Cruz apologized, claiming he “knew nothing about this” and blamed a CNN report. CNN later said Cruz described their report inaccurately and released video to prove it.