Clinton and Sanders bump heads during first democratic debate

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Fair use image: Gregory Hauenstein

Hillary Clinton speaks to a crowd at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, IA on June 14, 2015. Clinton was one of five democratic presidential candidates who debated on Oct. 13. Clinton discussed plans to lower college tuition costs, "As a young student in Nevada said, the hardest thing about going to college should not be paying for it [...] my plan would allow anyone to go to a public college tuition free," Clinton said.

Over 15 million people watched CNN’s democratic presidential candidates’ debate on Oct. 13, a record breaking amount for the party. Candidates discussed a variety of issues ranging from dealing with climate change to legalizing marijuana.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Hillary Clinton was most vocal, followed by Bernie Sanders and Martin O’ Malley. Candidates Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee were less prominent in the debate.

Nonetheless, junior Muneil Rizvi, who watched the debate closely, believes that Bernie Sanders won.

“I think Bernie won the debate,”  Rizvi said. “My reasoning is that he had genuine, straightforward answers to questions, instead of answering questions in a roundabout way.”

While Rizvi does not think the debate dramatically shaped the standings of any candidate, he was “slightly disappointed with Hillary because I thought she would have more of a variety of ideas, but she stayed with the most of the same points the whole time.”

Though Clinton’s Benghazi email scandal has been a topic of criticism amongst the nation recently, she did not have to spend time defending herself during the debate; Sanders effectively shut down that topic early on with the remark, “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”

However, Clinton and Sanders still bumped heads several times throughout the debate, including over Sander’s opinions on gun regulation and Clinton’s Wall Street record. When asked about legalizing marijuana in Nevada, Clinton responded that she was still undecided while Sanders was in favor of legalization.

“We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away and yet we are imprisoning young people who are smoking marijuana. I think we need to think through this war on drugs which has done an enormous amount of damage,” Sanders said.

“I think Bernie won the debate […] he had genuine, straightforward answers to questions, instead of answering questions in a roundabout way.”

— Muneil Rizvi

Other topics candidates were passionate about included support for government mandated paid maternity leave and making higher education opportunities more affordable for students.

“I have a plan that I think will really zero in on what the problems are,” Clinton said. “First, all the forty millions Americans who currently have student debts will be able to refinance their debt to a low interest rate. […] As a young student in Nevada said, the hardest thing about going to college should not be paying for it […] my plan would allow anyone to go to a public college tuition free.”

Many St. Paul Academy and Summit School students tuned in to watch the debate, or learned about it through social media or other news sources. As many SPA students will be eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election, paying attention to American politics is of increasing relevance.

 

SPA students who missed the debate can still watch it in full here. The next debate will take place on Nov. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa.