Clinton, Sanders get contentious in first dual TV debate

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have first one on one presidential debate after unforeseen Iowa contest

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Democratic US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discuss an issue during the Democratic presidential candidates debate in New Hampshire, February 4, 2016.

Updated Feb 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two democrat candidates of the US presidential race, went head to head in their first one on one debate on Thursday, five days ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

The debate came three days after Iowa caucus, in which Sanders and Clinton both came in at roughly 50 percent, as Martin O'Malley, the third democratic candidate had dropped out after a poor finish.

It was a 90 minute debate at the University of New Hampshire in the small college town of Durham.

Clinton criticised Sanders’ attacks, in which he said that she may be influenced by donations, of being involved in “artful smear”, and she commented on his proposals on the health care system and free education saying they were unrealistic.

Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old independent senator from neighbouring Vermont, says that Clinton’s policy may be influenced by the Wall Street.

"We need a political revolution where millions of people stand up and say loudly and clearly that our government belongs to all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors," he said.

"I think it's time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out in recent weeks," Clinton replied.

"You will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received."

People in the securities and investment industry gave more than $17 million last year to super political action committees supporting Clinton’s presidential run and nearly $3 million directly to her campaign, according to, a campaign-finance watchdog, AP cited.

Sanders, a self-defined Democratic socialist, offers changes in the government-run health care system, calls for free college tuition.

"I do not accept the belief that the United States of America can't do that," Sanders said, pointing to other countries providing universal healthcare.

"By moving forward, rallying the American people, I do believe we should have healthcare for all."

Clinton responds by saying that his plans are too costly to be realistic.

People hold signs outside before the Democratic US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (R) and Bernie Sanders presidential candidates debate in Durham, New Hampshire, February 4, 2016

While most expect Clinton to win the nomination in the end, Sanders still has support among young voters and liberal Democrats to stay competitive in the delegate count.

"Senator Sanders and I share some very big progressive goals, but the numbers just don't add up from what Senator Sanders has been proposing," Clinton said.

"I am not going to make promises I can't keep."

She offers more moderate changes; slow but steady reforms on Wall Street, tweaks to Obama's Affordable Care Act and expanding university scholarships.

An NBC/ Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released hours before the debate gave Sanders 58 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire and Clinton 38 percent.

Sanders also leads amongst independents, 69 to 26 percent, the poll said.


TRTWorld and agencies