Clinton, Sanders clash in Democratic debate

Washington, March 10 (IANS) A day after Bernie Sanders’ upset win over Hillary Clinton in a Democratic presidential primary, the two clashed over issues ranging from immigration reform to Sanders’ proposals for free college tuition and universal health care.

“This is a marathon and a marathon that can only be carried out by the type of inclusive campaign I’m running,” the former secretary of state said downplaying the Michigan loss and pointing to her big win in Mississippi.

But Sanders argued during the CNN debate Wednesday night that he’s the one with the momentum, calling his win in Michigan “one of the major political upsets in modern presidential history”.

“And I believe that our message of the need for people to stand up and tell corporate America and Wall Street that they cannot have it all is resonating across this country,” he said.

Clinton was also pressed on who gave her permission to use a private email server while at the State Department and if she would drop out of the race if she gets indicted.

“It wasn’t the best choice. I made a mistake. It was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed,” Clinton argued.

She maintained that no emails she sent at the time were marked classified and had instead been retroactively classified in a rash of “overclassification”.

Pressed again about what would happen if she were indicted by the FBI, an exasperated Clinton said, “Oh for goodness that isn’t going to happen.”

“I’m not even answering that question on dropping out if indicted.”

Sanders, who famously in the first debate said people were sick and tired of her “damn emails”, said he’d rather focus on income inequality, climate change and other issues as a process underway takes its course.

The two rivals again did not directly answer a question whether the Republican front-runner Donald Trump was a racist because of his controversial comments about Hispanics, women, blacks and other groups.

“Others are also joining in making clear that his rhetoric, his demagoguery, his trafficking in prejudice and paranoia has no place in our political system,” Clinton said.

“You don’t make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great,” she said, describing Trump’s call to ban Muslims temporarily and his other proposals as “un-American”.

Sanders, too criticised Trump’s rhetoric, but said he believed that logic would win out with voters – and noted he performs better against Trump in general election hypothetical match-ups.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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