Clinton, Sanders Clash Over Obama in Debate

Clinton, Sanders Clash Over Obama in Debate
Clinton, Sanders Clash Over Obama in Debate

Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed over support for the president in their first debate since the New Hampshire primary.

Clinton sought to cast herself as the protector of Barack Obama’s legacy, sharply attacking Sanders for criticizing the president.

“The kind of criticism I hear from Senator Sanders, I expect from Republicans,” Clinton said.

Nevada and South Carolina, states with large minority populations, vote next, BBC reported.

At the PBS NewsHour televised debate, Clinton repeatedly emphasized her ties to Obama who is extremely popular among minority voters.

Meanwhile, Sanders took pains to tailor to his message of economic fairness to address disparities in black communities.

Clinton also stressed her pragmatism, questioning Sanders’ pledges to provide universal healthcare and free higher education.

“We have a special obligation to make clear what we stand for which is why we can’t make promises we can’t keep,” Clinton said.

Immigration reform was also a major topic of discussion. Both candidates supported creating a path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US and they decried a recent uptick in deportations by the Obama administration.

Criticizing the anti-immigrant positions of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Sanders said immigrants should not be scapegoats for economic uncertainty.

“We have got to stand up to the Trumps of the world, who are trying to divide us,” Sanders said.

Clinton is trying to rebuild her campaign after Sanders decisively won the New Hampshire primary.

She received a much-needed endorsement from an influential bloc of black Democrats in Congress on Thursday.

The Vermont senator won the New Hampshire primary by 22 percentage points and lost the Iowa caucuses narrowly, but both states have nearly all-white populations.

He now faces the challenge of finding votes among the sizable Latino and black electorates in Nevada and South Carolina.

But the former secretary of state has strong support among Latinos and African-Americans and is expected to do well in the two states.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll in South Carolina gave Clinton a lead of 74% over Sanders’ 17% among black voters.

On Thursday, the political action committee of the Congressional Black Caucus publicly endorsed Clinton as their Democratic presidential candidate, giving an added boost to her campaign.

Both Republican and Democratic parties will formally name their presidential candidates at conventions in July. Americans will finally go to the polls to choose the new occupant of the White House in November.