More than 15 million Americans watched last night’s first debate among Democratic presidential contenders. And the Wednesday morning quarterbacks are replaying the highlights, including NJTV News Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron, who told Anchor Mary Alice Williams that he thought Hillary Clinton had a great night and that Bernie Sanders had plenty of support on the internet.
“Well like most political professionals, I thought Hillary Clinton had a fabulous night. I thought she came across as commanding, presidential, remarkably composed and unscripted. There’s evidence however from focus groups and the internet that younger people in particular thought Bernie Sanders had a great night. So there seems to be a divide there,” said Aron.
According to Aron some of the highlights of the debate included Sanders answering debate moderator Anderson Cooper’s question on his vote to shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits.
“Do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont, that sells legally, a gun to somebody and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don’t. On the other hand where you have manufacturers and where you have gun shops, knowingly giving guns to criminals or aiding and embedding that, of course we should take action,” Sanders said.
“Secretary Clinton is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns?” asked Cooper.
“No, not all. I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long and it’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA. The majority of our country supports background checks and even the majority of gun owners do,” Clinton said.
Another highlight from the debate according to Aron was when the subject of Syria was brought up and when Sanders criticized Clinton for her vote to go to war with Iraq.
“I will do everything that I can to make sure that the United States does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country,” said Sanders.
“If you’re looking ahead and you’re looking at someone that made that poor decision in 2002 to go into Iraq when there was no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” said Lincoln Chafee.
“Well, I recall very well being on a debate stage I think about 25 times with then Senator Obama debating this very issue. After the election he asked me to become Secretary of State. He valued my judgement and I spent a lot of time with him in the situation room going over some very difficult issues,” said Clinton.
Another moment in the debate that had many people talking was after Clinton defended herself on the email issue and Sanders said that America was tired of haring about her emails.
“The middle class of this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income and equality. Our trade policies will cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we are going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of citizens united. Enough of the emails, let’s talk about the real issues facing America”, said Sanders.
Aron said that if Joe Biden watched the debate, he might be having second thoughts about getting into the Presidential race, after Clinton’s performance.