Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Sharp Exchanges in Democratic Debate

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Sharp Exchanges in Democratic Debate

Article excerpt

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Turning up the temperature, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tangled repeatedly in Sunday's presidential debate over who's tougher on gun control and Wall Street and who's got a better vision for the future of health care in America. It was the last Democratic matchup before voting begins in two weeks, and both sides were eager to rumble as polls showed the race tightening. Clinton rapped Sanders, the Vermont senator, for voting repeatedly with the National Rifle Association, and then welcomed his weekend reversal of position to support legislation that would deny gun manufacturers legal immunity. She rattled off a list of provisions that she said Sanders had supported in line with the NRA: "He voted against the Brady Bill five times. He voted against what we call the Charleston loophole. He voted to let guns go on Amtrak, guns to go into national parks.

Sanders, in turn, said Clinton's assertion that he kowtowed to the gun lobby was "very disingenuous and pointed to his lifetime rating of a D- from the NRA.

On health care, Sanders released his plan for a government-run single-payer 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. Clinton, by contrast, urged less sweeping action to build on President Barack Obama's health care plan by reducing out-of- pocket costs and control spending on prescription drugs.

Clinton suggested Sanders' approach was dangerous - and pie-in- the-sky unrealistic.

"With all due respect, to start over again with a whole new debate is something that would set us back, Clinton said.

She said that under Obama's plan, "we finally have a path to universal health care. I don't want to see us start over again with a contentious debate. She noted that even with a Democratic Congress, Obama was unable to move to a single-payer system.

Sanders dismissed the idea that he'd endanger hard-won victories on health care, insisting: "No one is tearing this up; we're going to go forward. …

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