Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the fourth Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 cycle. NPI Treasurer Essie Hicks and I will be watching the debate and sharing impressions of the debate as it progresses. The debate is being broadcast by NBC and its affiliates.
Courtesy of NBC, here’s where you can watch:
- On TV: NBC affiliates like KING5 (Seattle) will be carrying the debate. It will also be rebroadcast later on MSNBC.
- Online: NBC and YouTube will livestream the debate.
- On the radio: Sirius XM’s Today Show channel will carry the debate live. It will not be aired on terrestrial radio, however.
There are three candidates left seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. They are former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
Let’s get started with our live coverage!
UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Andrew): We are presently about twenty-five minutes away from the advertised start time.
UPDATE, 5:59 PM (Andrew): We’re just a few minutes away from starting…
UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Andrew): NBC introduction is playing
UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Andrew): NBC’s Lester Holt, a respected newsman, is here to welcome everyone.
UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Andrew): Off we go!
UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): In her opening statement, Clinton thanks the Congressional Black Caucus Institute for co-hosting the debate on the eve of MLK Day.
UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): “We need a President who can do all aspects of the job… I hope to earn your support to be the nominee,” Clinton says with a smile.
UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): Sanders uses his opening to reinforce his campaign themes, wasting little time reminding everyone that the system is rigged in favor of the millionaires and billionaires.
UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Andrew): O’Malley’s turn now. “We have urgent work to do, and the voices of anger and division that we’ve heard coming out of the Republican presidential podiums are pretty loud,” he says.
UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Our campaign is about thinking big, Sanders declares. We should have healthcare for every man, woman, and child, he says, and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. We need a government that works for all of us.
UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Clinton says she would present plans to Congress plans to create more jobs, increase the minimum wage, and require equal pay for equal work.
UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): O’Malley echoes Clinton’s economic security priorities, but adds collective bargaining rights into the mix.
UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): Uniquely, O’Malley also emphasized tackling the climate crisis and creating a new agenda for America’s cities.
UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Clinton goes on the attack after Sanders defends his record on gun responsibility.
UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): “There is no other industry in America that was given the total pass that the gun lobby was,” Clinton says.
UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): O’Malley asserts that both Clinton and Sanders “have been inconsistent on this issue.”
UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): “I’ve never met a self-respecting deer hunter that needed an AR-15 to down a deer,” O’Malley says, completing one of his strongest answers in the debates thus far.
UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Candidates now talking about combating systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): “Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth?” Sanders asks, not waiting for Holt to ask him a question after Secretary Clinton concluded her thoughts.
UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Sanders stresses his ascendancy in Democratic presidential polls after being asked about Clinton’s lead with minority voters.
UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Nice to see NBC is taking questions through YouTube early on.
UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): “We have got to de-militiarize our police departments so they don’t look like occupying armies,” Sanders says, when asked about police reform.
UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Essie): Sanders says that police officers must be prosecuted if they break the law, community policing should be encouraged, and police departments should reflect the communities they serve.
UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Essie): Sanders emphasized the de-militarization of the police.
UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Essie): Clinton says that Emergency Medical personnel should have antidotes to heroin overdose.
UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): We need a revolution in this country in terms of mental health treatment, Sanders says.
UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Time for our first commercial break!
UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Essie): Sanders emphasizes universal healthcare, and including mental health. He says that much of the responsibility should fall on the pharmaceutical companies.
UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): We’re back, and we’re talking about Medicare For All.
UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Clinton asked if her attacks on Sanders’ healthcare plan are fair (they’re not).
UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): “Is it really fair to say that Sanders wants to kill Obamacare?” Clinton says we have a path but the Republicans can repeal his solutions. Sanders says that Clinton didn’t answer the question.
UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Sanders says that healthcare is a right and should be available to everyone.
UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Sanders says that 29 million people still have no healthcare and are paying too much for prescriptions.
UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): “I’m on the committee” that wrote the Patient Protection Act,” Sanders says, noting he helped make it better. But we shouldn’t be resting on our laurels. Not everyone has coverage.
UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Essie): Sanders says his vision is to lower costs for everyone. Clinton says that she doesn’t know which plan he is referring to and that the ACA act is working.
UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): The Patient Protection Act would have been a greater accomplishment had it contained a public option, @HillaryClinton.
UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): We shouldn’t be afraid of having contentious debates.
UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): “The vision from FDR and Truman was healthcare for all people,” Sanders says.
UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the contentious debate is too risky to tear it up and start over. We should build on what we have. Sanders says he does not want to tear up the ACA, but build on it by expanding Medicare to all.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Essie): Clinton says that a whole new debate on healthcare would set us back, that Republicans will continue to attack it. Thank goodness Obama vetoed it.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): Clinton’s “contentious debate” talking point is ridiculous and repetitive.
UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Essie): Sanders says the real point is that our campaign finance structure. Pharmaceutical companies give too much money to politicians. He says that politicians need to stand up for what is right for the American People.
UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): We could have gotten the votes for the public option, but we didn’t try hard enough.
UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Essie): Clinton says that she is accustomed to standing up to health insurance companies. She says this has been the fight of the Democrats for decades and that we should build on what is working, and get individual costs down.
UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Essie): How will you bring the country together? President Obama’s comment on his inability to bring people together was his biggest failing. Clinton says she will meet with anyone anywhere to find common ground.
UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): Clinton touts her record of bipartisanship when asked how she would unify the country, highlighting her work on New START and several other pieces of legislation.
UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Essie): Sanders says that a few years ago we found out that veterans were not getting what they needed, he worked with John McCain. He says the real issue is that Congress is owned by Big Money and refuses to do what the people want to do. We need to raise the minimum wage, equal pay for women, and the needs of the people need to be thought of first.
UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): “We’ve got to make Congress responsive to the needs of the people,” Sanders says.
UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): Bernie will not be interrupted!
UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Essie): To a question of his “Democratic-Socialist” label, Sanders says that small donors need to be what candidates should have to work for.
UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): O’Malley saw an opening and jumped in.
UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Essie): Sanders says we have to deal with the handful of billionaires who control this country.
UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Great question about getting young voters engaged.
UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): To a question about engaging young people: Clinton says, this election is about the future and it is a great urgency for young people. She says that student debt is a problem, and community college should be free, and tuition should be debt free. She says that young people value their civil liberties, and that people of all ages need to work together.
UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): Clinton says that Sanders young supporters are passionate, but she will continue to work to engage them.
UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): “I think this is an election where we have to pull young people and old people together,” Clinton says. Asked why Sanders has so many young supporters, Clinton smiled, demurred, and said she would continue working to gain as many supporters as she could.
UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): We’re taking another break.
UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): O’Malley has been having a really good debate so far. Clinton and Sanders have been, for the most part, solid. They’ve gone after each other on their gun safety and healthcare positions, but otherwise, have mostly sounded notes of agreement.
UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he does not take money from big banks. He says that the Glass-Stegal legislation needs to come back. He says that the trust-busters need to come back. They should not be too big to fail.
UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the criticism toward President Obama for taking Wall Street. Clinton defends the President. She says the Dodd-Frank bill was the most important bill since the 1930’s.
UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): “Can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions of millions of dollars on campaign contributions?” asks Bernie Sanders.
UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Essie): Sanders says, “Can you really reform Wall Street when they provide speaker fees to individuals, and give millions to campaigns.” Sanders says that he will rely on the middle class for his campaign contributions.
UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley takes advantage of his live mic to say “That’s not true” and “Oh, come on” when Clinton claims her Wall Street reform plan is the smartest and toughest.
UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Essie): Clinton says that his comments toward the President are confusing. She says that Wall Street is running ads against her right now, and she is the one they don’t want.
UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that that there is a difference between all three of them, and says that she would not go as far as he would to protect the American people from Wall Street. He says what she says is just not true.
UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): “I support reinstituting a modern version of Glass-Steagall,” O’Malley says, going on to criticize Clinton’s Wall Street reform plans as inadequate.
UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): Some crosstalk between Hillary and Bernie.
UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Essie): All three of them are arguing over each other to contest who would be the toughest on Wall Street.
UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Essie): Sanders says Clinton has received over 600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.
UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): Clinton says that in 2000 Sanders is the only one on the stage to vote to de-regulate the system and ultimately caused the collapse of the financial system.
UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): Quite the feisty exchange over Wall Street reform…
UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): Clinton says at least we are having a debate about this, because Republicans want to de-regulate.
UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Essie): Sanders has been asked how he will pay for all of the programs that he wants. Sanders says that our infrastructure needs to be rebuilt by keeping investments and taxes on investments here in the States. Sanders says that a tax on Wall Street speculation. Its time for Wall Street to bail out the middle class.
UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): “I want to raise incomes, not taxes,” Clinton says, adopting some conservative framing.
UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Essie): Clinton says that she has documented how she would pay for everything she wants to do, and that her website has that documentation. She has says that she wants to raise incomes not taxes, and that paid family leave, student debt, and that the financial services industry should pay for it. She says that the middle class should not.
UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Sanders: Do away with private health insurance, slightly raise taxes… it’s a pretty good deal.
UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Essie): Will you raise taxes on the middle class? Sanders says that the criticism for this comes from Clinton. He says that what we have to acknowledge that we have to do away with middle class family’s necessity to pay for health care costs. That will save a family ‚000.00 a month. Private health insurance premiums will go away. The modest tax increase would be far less.
UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he is the only one on the stage that has done these things. Sanders says that he was mayor for 8 years, and that’s not true.
UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): We can make the investments we need to make by raising taxes on the wealthy, O’Malley says.
UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): Ah, good. A question about fighting the climate crisis.
UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): Sanders blasts the Republican Party for denying climate science.
UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Essie): Sanders talks about the climate change issue is real and is causing major issues and if bold action is not taken, major issues will result. He says that the Republican Party is so owned by the fossil fuel industry they will not work on the issue. The energy system needs to be changed and his legislation on the issue is the most comprehensive.
UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we need to be on a 100% electric grid based on solar and green energy.
UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): Iran, ISIS enemy crisis is up next.
UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): O’Malley challenges Clinton and Sanders to join him in committing to a 100% renewable energy grid by 2050. Clinton wanted to respond, but NBC went to commercial.
UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Essie): Commentators call the next set of questions: “The Commander in Chief Test”
UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): We’re back and talking foreign policy.
UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Essie): Sanders says we need to move aggressively to adjust the behavior of Iran. He says that managing to reach an agreement with Iran is positive. He says that relationship should continue to become positive and we should move to warm relationships with them.
UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Essie): Clinton says she helped to work on the sanctions with Iran, and they have so far been following agreements. She says that we have to be very careful, their bad behavior in the region should be addressed.
UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Essie): Clinton says that ground forces in Syria should not be a solution. Iraq army and Sunni fighters and Kurdish fighters should be mobilized and supply chain for money and online space should be interrupted. She says that the air forces should be used.
UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Essie): Sanders says that we need to learn the lesson of Iraq, and the quagmire of Syria should be avoided. We should learn from King Abdullah, who said that this is a war for the soul of Islam and that Muslim troops should be on the ground. Not American troops in perpetual warfare.
UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we need a proactive security strategy. He complements the Democrats on the stage for not using the bravado of the Republican party.
UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Excellent point by O’Malley about remembering the real and sobering human costs of war.
UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Andrew): It’s easy to get rid of a two-bit dictator like Saddam Hussein, but there wasn’t thought given to what needed to happen next when we invaded Iraq, Sanders notes.
UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he led the opposition to the war in Iraq. He says that there was not a lot of thought about what happens after removing a dictator. Sanders says that we need to train and support the Muslim nations in the region. He says the wealthy countries need to start putting some “skin in the game” and stop depending on America.
UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Essie): Should the President have stuck to his “red line” on chemical weapons. Clinton says that we were able to get the chemical weapons out and the issue resulted in a positive outcome. She says that the surrounding States could have been terribly affected. She says that as a commander in chief has to critically think about the outcome of actions. The US had a very big interest in keeping the stability of the region.
UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Essie): Sanders says our first priority should be on getting rid of ISIS, and that all of the interests need to be brought together in order to make it happen.
UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): O’Malley jumps in and makes a crucial point about a lack of human intelligence. The U.S. intelligence community is addicted to signals intelligence, and it’s definitely a problem.
UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): Well, this is a first… a strong technology question!
UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): O’Malley says the government should need a warrant, whether that’s to come through the front door or a back door.
UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that the Federal Gov should have to get a warrant weather they go through a front or back door. We need security, but our privacy should not be infringed upon. We need a public advocate to help with the Patriot Act.
UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): We need a body of law that protects Americans in the digital age, O’Malley says, concluding a strong answer in which he called for curtailing privacy abuses and one-sided secret courts.
UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he voted against the Patriot Act, and that we have to worry about the private information that the private companies have regarding the American public. Sanders says that we have to have Silicon Valley help with ISIS without violating the civil liberties of the American people.
UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): Sorry, Secretary Clinton, but we have to go to break…
UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Andrew): Lester Holt is the best moderator we’ve seen in the Democratic debates thus far.
UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Andrew): NBC has also done a really good job putting questions together for this debate.
UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): Clinton slams the Republican presidential candidates for their bigoted comments against Muslims.
UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Essie): Clinton says that we need better intelligence and our country needs to be unified. We need to work with Muslim Americans.
UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Essie): O’Malley speaks against the vilification of American Muslims.
UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Andrew): Sanders makes a good point — much of our military budget goes towards conventional forces and weapons.
UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Essie): Sanders says that we have a military budget that continues to fight the old cold war. Little of it goes to fighting ISIS. We need to make fundamental changes to the priorities.
UPDATE, 7:43 PM (Essie): Clinton on the “kitchen table” role of Bill Clinton on the economic advisory role. She says that Bill will be a good will emissary to get more ideas on how to address the economic issues.
UPDATE, 7:44 PM (Essie): Sanders says that if Clinton’s advisory body on economics is stacked with Wall Street people they are not going to help very much.
UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Essie): Sanders says to a question related the transgressions on Bill Clinton: He says that he is annoyed by the question because it is not relevant to the issues facing the American people.
UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Andrew): O’Malley cites several issues that didn’t get talked about in depth tonight, like immigration reform and what’s happening to Puerto Rico.
UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he wishes we had discussed immigration issues had been covered more. He says that the belief that we are on the threshold of a new era of American progress.
UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Andrew): Clinton says she’s outraged by what is happening in Flint, Michigan. Was hoping this would be mentioned.
UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Andrew): #ArrestGovSnyder
UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Essie): Clinton says she is outraged by what is happening in Flint Michigan. She criticized the Governor for not acting on the issue. She says that it is outrageous that she wants to be a President who acts on our issues at home.
UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Andrew): Sanders: We have got to get rid of Super PACs and Citizens United… we need a political revolution to revitalize American democracy.
UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he calls for the resignation of the Governor. Sanders says that he wants to see the super PACs gone and Citizens United repealed. He says that he wants more young people involved in the political process. The wealthy should not be in charge of American policy.
UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Andrew): And with that, we’re done. It was a spirited, lively, and enjoyable debate with the only real adults in the presidential race.
UPDATE, 7:57 PM (Essie): Another great debate. I trust the people on this stage to lead the American people more than any of the Republican candidates. They are far more thoughtful, and caring of the people in this country. Republicans are focused on driving voters by fear.