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The Daily Tar Heel
View from the Hill

Battle in Brooklyn — Demdebate recap

April shouters could bring a Democratic presidential nominee.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton squared off in Brooklyn Thursday night to debate in quite possibly the most important state for the nomination. 

The candidates went back and forth on numerous issues, but the debate boiled down to the 5 F’s: financing, foreign policy, fight for $15 and federal tax returns.

Sanders pounded away at Clinton for receiving campaign funding and being paid for speeches by big banks, who she has said she supports regulating more. 

Clinton fired back by saying she has “called out” big banks and corporations since the 2008 financial crisis, yet some of her top donors include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase & Co. 

She countered with Sanders' New York Daily News interview, where he was seemingly unable to provide exact policy recommendations for his platform goals of breaking up big banks. 

With regards to foreign policy, the two debated Clinton’s support for the Iraq War and how her “lack of judgement” for doing so raises the question of how she will exercise her judgement if elected president. 

Clinton returned that New York trusted her judgement in two elections for senator, and President Barack Obama chose her as his Secretary of State. 

The two also debated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — both of whom claim to be pro-Israel. Sanders’ said the 2014 Gaza War was “disproportionate,” whereas Clinton evaded answering if she believed it was or wasn’t, and said Gaza is a haven for terrorists that threatens Israel’s security.

When the issue of the minimum wage raised, Sanders brought up how Clinton suddenly supports the fight to make the national minimum wage $15. But Clinton said she has supported raising the minimum wage in places such as New York and Seattle.

Clinton was asked if she would release her Wall Street speeches, to which she repeatedly said she would not unless other candidates did. She said she wanted a level playing field in which each of the candidates were held to the same standard. 

The Sanders campaign, the following day, released Senator Sanders’ 2014 tax return. 

The question that left viewers the most curious, however, was this: how impactful is this debate to the New York primary on Tuesday? Kyle Kondik, spokesperson for the Center for Politics at University of Virginia, doubts it.

“It’s hard to say any of the debates on either side have changed the calculus all that much,” he said. “Now, if Sanders surprisingly comes back and wins New York, then maybe it had some impact. But I doubt it — while the debate got snippy at times, it wasn’t all that much different than the ones that came before it.”

He said it is hard to tell who really wins these debates. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder in debates, and ultimately I doubt it moved the needle all that much in the race,” Kondik said. “As it stands now, all polling suggests Clinton should win New York, and not just by a point or two. Perhaps if the result tightens up this debate will have been a reason why, but even then it’s possible that other factors will have been in play.”

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