Friday, February 12, 2016

PBS Dem Debate: A Few Highlights (and Lowlights)

The best fireworks occurred in the last half hour. Emphasis here is mine.

Transcript courtesy of the New York Times.

This came early, but I just had to say ....
SANDERS: You once had a pension. Those jobs, in many cases, are now gone. They’re off.
True, but a lot of us have 401Ks and 403Bs in place of the pensions, making all of us a little bit Wall St.  as it were.  The argument should be against the GOP privatizing Social Security similarly.  Don't demonize where I now everything I worked for. I need Wall St. to be healthy, but fair, clean, and legit. 
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to the Democratic presidential debate. Before we
return to our questions, we have a follow-up question from our Facebook group.
And it is to Senator Sanders.
Senator, it comes from Bill Corfield. He is a 55-year-old musician from Troy,
Ohio. And he asks: “Are there any areas of government you would like to
SANDERS: Hey, I’m in the United States Senate, and anyone who doesn’t think
that there is an enormous amount of waste and inefficiency and bureaucracy
throughout government would be very, very mistaken.
I believe in government, but I believe in efficient government, not wasteful
IFILL: How about you, Senator Clinton — Secretary Clinton?
CLINTON: Absolutely. And, you know, there are a number of programs that I
think are duplicative and redundant and not producing the results that people
deserve. There are a lot of training programs and education programs that I think
can be streamlined and put into a much better format so that if we do continue
them they can be more useful, in public schools, community colleges, and
colleges and universities.
I would like to take a hard look at every part of the federal government and really
do the kind of analysis that would rebuild some confidence in people that we’re
taking a hard look about what we have, you know, and what we don’t need
anymore. And that’s what I intend to do.
SANDERS: If I could just answer that, we have also got to take a look at the
waste and inefficiencies in the Department of Defense, which is the one major
agency of government that has not been able to be audited. And I have the
feeling you’re going to find a lot of cost overruns there and a lot of waste and
duplicative activities.
Format did not permit Hillary to respond further.  That was the cut-off. Hillary was not allowed another word here. But I would point out that Hillary initiated the first-ever such analytical process to streamline the State Department, the QDDR, as Secretary of State, and certainly will apply that model to all government agencies as POTUS. She has already done this and knows how!  I wish she could have talked about that.
CLINTON: But I want to — I want to follow up on something having
to do with leadership, because, you know, today Senator Sanders said that
President Obama failed the presidential leadership test. And this is not the first
time that he has criticized President Obama. In the past he has called him weak.
He has called him a disappointment.
He wrote a forward for a book that basically argued voters should have buyers’
remorse when it comes to President Obama’s leadership and legacy.
And I just couldn’t agree — disagree more with those kinds of comments. You
know, from my perspective, maybe because I understand what President Obama
inherited, not only the worst financial crisis but the antipathy of the Republicans
in Congress, I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for being a president...
CLINTON: ... who got us out of that...
CLINTON: ... put us on firm ground, and has sent us into the future. And it is a —
the kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I
expect from Republicans. I do not expect from someone running for the
Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.
SANDERS: That is...
SANDERS: Madam Secretary, that is a low blow.
(As if never in this campaign cycle has he ever delivered a low blow.)


(Hillary gives him Carrie-at-the-Prom face via Sissy Spacek.)
I have worked with President Obama for the last seven years.
Note to Senator Sanders: That is very unstable territory.
When President Obama came into office we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, 800,000
jobs a month.
We had a $1.4 trillion
deficit. And the world’s financial system is on the verge of collapse.
As a result of his efforts and the efforts of Joe Biden against unprecedented, I
was there in the Senate, unprecedented Republican obstructionism, we have
made enormous progress.
SANDERS: But you know what? Last I heard we lived in a democratic society.
Last I heard, a United States senator had the right to disagree with the president,
including a president who has done such an extraordinary job.
So I have voiced criticisms. You’re right. Maybe you haven’t. I have. But I think to
suggest that I have voiced criticism, this blurb that you talk about, you know what
the blurb said? The blurb said that the next president of the United States has got
to be aggressive in bringing people into the political process.
That’s what I said. That is what I believe.
SANDERS: President Obama and I are friends.

As you know, he came to
Vermont to campaign for me when he was a senator. I have worked for his re-
election. His first election and his re-election.
But I think it is really unfair to suggest that I have not been supportive of the
president. I have been a strong ally with him on virtually every issue. Do senators
have the right to disagree with the president? Have you ever disagreed with a
president? I suspect you may have.
CLINTON: You know, Senator, what I am concerned about, is not disagreement
on issues, saying that this is what I would rather do, I don’t agree with the
president on that, calling the president weak, calling him a disappointment,
calling several times that he should have a primary opponent when he ran for re-
election in 2012, you know, I think that goes further than saying we have our
As a senator, yes, I was a senator. I understand we can disagree on the path
forward. But those kinds of personal assessments and charges are ones that I
find particularly troubling.
IFILL: Senator, if you would like respond to — you may respond to that but it is
time for closing statements and you can use your time for closing statements to
dpolicies he carried o that.
SANDERS: Well, one of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.
No he was not - in 2008, when Obama was a senator. That was when HIllary ran against Obama as a fellow senator.  The election when Bernie planned to primary President Obama was in 2012, when he was, you know,  president.
SANDERS: Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the
last debate — and I believe in her book — very good book, by the way — in her
book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support
or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I
happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive
secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.
I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from
Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United
States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability
for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million
innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count
me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.
IFILL: Secretary Clinton? CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who
you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.
SANDERS: Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger. That’s for sure.
CLINTON: That’s fine. That’s fine.
You know, I listen to a wide variety of voices that have expertise in various areas.
I think it is fair to say, whatever the complaints that you want to make about him
are, that with respect to China, one of the most challenging relationships we
have, his opening up China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of
China is an incredibly useful relationship for the United States of America.
So if we want to pick and choose — and I certainly do — people I listen to, people
I don’t listen to, people I listen to for certain areas, then I think we have to be fair
and look at the entire world, because it’s a big, complicated world out there.
By the way, Bernie, do not insult us. We do know who Mossadegh was. I wonder how many of your millennials know who Henry Kissinger is.  I know Hillary's millennials do. Many of us remember his service and have issues with some policies he carried out under Nixon, but here's a reminder:  He was secretary of state, not secretary of defense. Blaming Kissinger for bombings in Cambodia is like blaming Hillary for bombings  - anywhere - while she was secretary of state - a diplomatic post.

Secretary Clinton Accepts Freedom Award in Berlin for the American People

Henry Kissinger, left, former U.S. Secretary of State, hands over the Freedom Award " in recognition of their fight for democracy and liberty" for the American People to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, during the Freedom Awards Ceremony of the Atlantic Council in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
Henry Kissinger, left, former U.S. Secretary of State, hands over the Freedom Award " in recognition of their fight for democracy and liberty" for the American People to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, during the Freedom Awards Ceremony of the Atlantic Council in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)