With the Iowa caucuses only two weeks away, the North State Journal will bring you a weekly update of the race to the White House. We’ll provide a weekly wrap-up of the controversial comments and breakdown of the top candidates every week so that you can stay up to date.
On the Democratic side
With Hillary Clinton dropping in recent polls, she and Bernie Sanders both threw punches in one of their more heated debates on Sunday in Charleston, S.C. It was sponsored by NBC, YouTube and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. The candidates focused on who was tighter on gun control and Wall Street. They also addressed health care.
• Sec. Hillary Clinton: Clinton kept aligning herself with President Obama, who is popular with Palmetto State Democrats. She also noted how Sanders has “reversed” himself in a number of his policies. She argued that Sanders agreed with the National Rifle Association (NRA) on a number of items. On health care, Clinton said we should build on President Obama’s plan.
“We finally have a path to universal health care. We have accomplished so much already. I do not to want see the Republicans repeal it, and I don’t to want see us start over again.” Clinton was asked about what role her husband would play in the White House. “Well, it will start at the kitchen table,” she retorted. “We’ll see how it goes from there.”
• Sen. Bernie Sanders: Sanders countered the NRA claims by saying the NRA rated him a D-. Attacking Clinton about her connections to Wall Street, Sanders said, “Sec. Clinton — and you’re not the only one, so I don’t mean to just point the finger at you – you’ve received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year.” Sanders also released his single-payer health care plan just hours before the debate. He said, “Yes, some middle class families would be paying slightly more in taxes.” Like Trump, Sanders brought up his poll numbers and how he was closing in on, if not beating Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire.
• Martin O’Malley: O’Malley tried to interject and make some attacks here and there, but it was difficult to get in the middle of the WWE matchup between Sanders and Clinton. One jab the former governor did make was to Clinton. “Now you bring up President Obama here in South Carolina in defense of the fact of your cozy relationship with Wall Street.”
On the Republican Side
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are neck and neck in Iowa’s polls. Thus, they went toe to toe in Charleston, S.C. in a debate sponsored by FOX Business. The topic of national security took center stage as well as economic issues.
• Donald Trump: Shockingly, Trump showed some emotion when he addressed Cruz’s attacks about having conservative “New York values.” Trump referenced the 9/11 attacks. “No place on earth could have handled that more beautifully, more humanely than New York.” Trump also said with Cruz being born in Canada to an American mother, it leaves a big question mark over his head, making him a target for the Democrats.
• Sen. Ted Cruz: In true Cruz fashion, he used humor to address the birth debate. “The Constitution hasn’t changed, but the poll numbers have,” said Cruz. “And I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa. But the facts and law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding U.S. law, the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen.”
• Sen. Marco Rubio: Rubio’s top applause of the night came when he said, “Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being commander in chief of the United States.” Rubio also went after Cruz by saying Cruz flip-flopped on issues in order to gain votes.
• Jeb Bush: The former governor got some attention when he discussed how national security is a mess and Clinton would not be able to address it. Bush stated, “Her first 100 days she might be going back and forth between the White House and the courthouse.”
• Gov. Chris Christie: While the governor went back and forth with Rubio, he received loud cheers when he looked in the camera and acted as if he was addressing the president in person. “The American people have rejected your agenda, and now you’re trying to go around it. That’s not right. It’s not constitutional. And we are going to kick your rear end out of the White House come this fall.”
• Carly Fiorinia: Fiorina was bumped down from the main stage but had the voters buzzing when she stated, “And unlike another woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband.”
• Rand Paul: Rebelling against the terms of the debate, Paul said he would not let the media dictate in which debate he would participate. Instead, Paul held a Q&A at Twitter’s headquarters.
Check back here next Monday morning for your weekly re-cap of the presidential race to the White House.