Last night Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton conducted their last debate before the New Hampshire primary next week. Clinton is down over 30 points in New Hampshire projections, and a new national poll of Democrats finds that she has lost the 30 point lead that she held just 8 weeks ago. There was limited discussion of foreign policy last night, not Sanders’s strong suit, but it appears the Democratic base is much more concerned with domestic economic issues and Clinton continues to dig herself further into that Wall Street hole she’s carved out for herself.
So in last night’s debate the clashes erupted over domestic economic issues. Bristling under the suggestion rich donors could buy her off, Clinton confronted Sanders, accusing him of an “artful smear”: “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly, but you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received.”
The New York Times picked up the exchange and revealed, “instantaneously, his campaign blasted out a “fact check” to the news media that included an excerpt from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2003 book…”, further perpetuating the Millennial Bernie supporters’ misgivings about honesty that Clinton is having a hard time shaking off.
The New York Times says, Hillary Clinton Is Again Put on the Defensive Over Perceived Ties to Wall Street:
Mr. Sanders, eager to avoid suggestions that he is making personal or gendered attacks on Mrs. Clinton, did not bother to directly answer the question. As is his custom, returned to his old refrain: Wall Street is too big, too powerful, and no one in their right mind believes they contribute to politicians out of the goodness of their hearts. “That is what power is about,” he said.
But almost instantaneously, his campaign blasted out a “fact check” to the news media that included an excerpt from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2003 book, “The Two-Income Trap,” in which she accused Mrs. Clinton of shifting her position on bankruptcy legislation when she became a New York senator to appease her Wall Street donors, a charge Mrs. Clinton has denied. “She could not afford such a principled position,” Ms. Warren wrote. “Campaigns cost money and that money wasn’t coming from families in financial trouble.”
This video captures the exchange between Sanders and Clinton last night and then switches to an old 2004 clip of Elizabeth Warren gently (as only Warren can do) explaining to Bill Moyers how Clinton folded on legislation tightening bankruptcy laws once she became a senator:
Moyers has the full exchange on video plus transcript up on his website: Elizabeth Warren Recalls a Time When Big Donors May Have Changed Hillary’s Vote:
ELIZABETH WARREN: She voted in favor of it.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
ELIZABETH WARREN: As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don’t realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Those are the people. The credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence.
BILL MOYERS: And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as senator.
ELIZABETH WARREN: She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.
BILL MOYERS: But what does this mean though to these people, these millions of people out there whom the politicians cavort in front of as favoring the middle class, and then are beholden to the powerful interests that undermine the middle class? What does this say about politics today?
ELIZABETH WARREN: You know this is the scary part about democracy today. It’s… We’re talking again about the impact of money. The credit industry on this bankruptcy bill has spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying, and as their profits grow, they just throw more into lobbying for how they can get laws that will make it easier and easier and easier to drain money out of the pockets of middle class families.
Looks like Clinton’s got some more explaining to do. And it’s worth asking if the truthiness factor will create a credibility gap on her perceived so called foreign policy “strength”.