Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton’s judgment in a very heated exchange. He questioned her vote for the Iraq war, her support for virtually every trade agreement and for taking millions from “special interests”, such as Wall Street.
Hillary Clinton, who has accepted over $44.1 million from the industry, responded by invoking President Obama and how he had a Super PAC accepting contributions from the industry but was still able to pass the Dodd-Frank legislation.
However, President Obama did not have a Super PAC in 2008. Super PAC’s came into existence in 2010 as a result of the Supreme Court decision SpeechNow.org vs. FEC. As Lawrence Lessig explains “even if no deals are made, the influence of special interest super PACs is a corrupting influence on American democracy.”
Bernie Sanders was asked if there was a specific legislation where Wall Street influenced the Secretary. He referred to her support for the 2008 Wall Street bailout. Sanders wasted a great opportunity in not referring to the Bill Moyers show where Elizabeth Warren explains how contributions from Wall Street influenced her vote on the bankruptcy bill.
Hillary Clinton also refused to release her Wall Street transcripts demanding that Republican candidates must release their speeches. She also demanded that Sanders should release his tax records, which he agreed to comply, including the 2014 tax release tomorrow.
The former Secretary of State still leads Bernie Sanders in New York opinion polls, but recent polls show that the race has become more competitive. The latest Siena poll has Clinton leading by 10 points (52 to 42) down from 21 points back in February. The two candidates are neck and neck in national polls.
Hillary Clinton is under a lot of pressure to win in New York, and by a comfortable margin. Clinton represented the state as a US Senator from 2001 to 2009. Bernie Sanders has also won eight of the last nine contests and the Clinton campaign is looking to hold off his momentum with a win in New York.
New York is also the second largest contest in terms of delegates with 247 delegates up for grabs. Clinton currently leads by 208 pledged delegates and Sanders is looking to chip away at her lead.
Today’s debate is the ninth of ten sanctioned Democratic debates. There will be another debate in May that is yet to be scheduled