Dear Commons Community,
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders went at each other a bit at last night’s Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan. There were a lot of comments from the audience and the moderators regarding the disastrous water situation in Flint. Major issues such as the Wall Street bailout, trade, gun control, and the candidates’ relationships with the African-American community were featured. Sanders especially criticized Clinton for her close ties with Wall Street while Clinton gave back that Sanders voted against the federal funding that saved the automobile industry.
“I voted to save the auto industry,” Clinton said at the CNN-hosted event. “He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry.”
Sanders, a Vermont senator, then accused Clinton of allowing her “friends” on Wall Street to destroy the US economy.
“Well, if you are talking about the Wall Street bailout, where some of your friends destroyed this economy,” Sanders began.
Clinton starting speaking, but Sanders interjected.
“Excuse me, I’m talking,” he told her.
“If you’re going to talk, tell the whole story, Sen. Sanders,” the former secretary of state shot back.
“Let me tell my story, you tell yours,” Sanders replied.
They continued back and forth.
I was pleased to see that a mother from the audience as well as one of the moderators, Anderson Cooper, raised questions about public education. Shaniqua Kent, who is suing Detroit Public Schools for a better education, asked how the candidates would hold education officials accountable for the kinds of deplorable conditions her daughter faces at school: rats, mold, water fountains that don’t work, and non-certified teachers. I thought Hillary had more to say and relied on her relationship with the NEA and the AFT (both have endorsed her). She went out of her way to praise the work that teachers do. She also lamented that teachers have become scapegoats for government leaders and others who refuse to invest in and to correct social issues that impede education. She also commented that she would fund and support public education SWAT teams to improve schools. Sanders made the comment that the best way to judge a nation is by the way it treats its most vulnerable, and said America “should be ashamed” of itself on that front. Sanders also commented about funding pre-k and free public higher education.
While not as entertaining as the vicious, personal attack style at the Republican debates, both Clinton and Sanders generated some heat while talking about issues.