Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met face-to-face in Flint, Michigan for a presidential debate this weekend, and the two candidates clearly attempted to separate themselves from one another.
During Sunday night’s debate, both of the Democratic candidates seemed to accomplish what they set out to do. NewsOne Now panelist Lauren Victoria Burke said Clinton and Sanders did well “delineating their positions in a way that is really clear.”
Burke also expressed her belief that Clinton was “a little bit too defensive” of her husband’s crime bill. Fellow panelist David Swerdlick, Associate Editor at The Washington Post, agreed with Burke’s critique of Sec. Clinton’s defensive stance while talking about the bill saying, “that was the one answer that she was sort of wobbly.”
Former Associate Secretary of Energy, Randa Fahmy, said, “What I thought was clear was her uncomfortableness in two questions.” The first question Fahmy highlighted dealt with religion, the second addressed the EPA and the Flint water crisis.
Fahmy said, “It was really clear how Bernie Sanders answered direct on” and alluded to the fact that Clinton did not.
NewsOne Now guest host Jeff Johnson brought up a stark difference between Clinton and Sanders’ responses to questions, saying Sanders’ answers are “incredibly definitive because his answers are incredibly simple.” On the other hand, Johnson opined Clinton’s answers to questions tend to be “much more nuanced.”
Johnson asked the panel, “Does that make her more uncomfortable?”
Gianno Caldwell, a contributor to TheHill.com, responded to Johnson’s question, saying Clinton may be more “uncomfortable with Bernie Sanders because no one thought that he would be in this place.”
He added, “Bernie Sanders has been right on when it comes to the issues that the Democratic party cares about. He has mentioned especially in that debate about Goldman Sachs, her (Hillary Clinton’s) speeches that she receives from Wall Street.”
Caldwell expressed a conflict with Clinton being a progressive and receiving funds from Wall Street supporters.
Swerdlick interpreted Clinton’s more nuanced approach to answering questions as her “thinking about governing should she win” and trying to play to the “middle of the road.”
It was at this time that Lauren Victoria Burke, Managing Editor of Politic365.com, said the former Secretary of State is trying to hold on to the “new Democrats, the Wall Street sort of friendly Democrat, and of course, Bernie Sanders pounded her on the idea that Democrats sometimes don’t vote the right way on middle class issues.”
She continued to explain that Sanders is “absolutely right and she (Hillary Clinton) has no answer for the speaking thing and she should have one by now.”
Randa Fahmy believes Clinton’s nuanced approach can be interpreted as the Democratic presidential candidate “not being straight, not being forward, not being honest.”
She added, “That’s a problem, the dishonesty comes through if she tries to be nuanced.”
Johnson summed up the issues between Clinton and Sanders, saying “on one end there is a trust factor with Hillary Clinton, on the other side there is a specifics issue with Bernie Sanders” and both candidates are going to have to address those problems.
Also during last night’s debate, Sanders’ explanation of what White people don’t understand may have exposed that the candidate is out of touch. Burke told Johnson Sanders’ point “wasn’t well said, obviously we have more White people in the country in poverty than Black people.”
Swerdlick responded, “When it comes to talking about race and issues that are near and dear to African-Americans, I actually think she (Hillary Clinton) is comfortable speaking to a predominantly African-American audience, if for no other reason that she’s spent more time campaigning to an African-American audience.”
Swerdlick continued to explain that unlike Sanders, who touted his work in the 1960s, Clinton went to activist Marian Wright Edelman and asked, “What would you have me do?”
Watch guest host Jeff Johnson and the NewsOne Now political panel discuss the latest primary/caucus results and recap the Flint Democratic presidential debate in the video clip above.
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