Tag Archives: Democratic Debate

Hillary Clinton Responds to Critics Questioning High-Paying ‘Big Bank’ Speeches

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defended the millions of dollars she has received in speaking fees and campaign contributions from Wall Street banks on Sunday, and asserted that they have not led to a conflict of interest.

During NBC’s “Meet the Press,” moderator Chuck Todd noted that the money Clinton has received has been used by her opponent Bernie Sanders to criticize her ties to Wall Street, and he asked, Why do you think one of these big banks paid you over $200,000 for a speech?”

Clinton insisted that she “gave speeches to a wide array of groups,” including healthcare groups and auto dealers. She said Americans wanted to hear about her expertise on the world, and that there was “a lot of interest in the bin Laden raid.”

[pull_quote_center]Coming off of four years as secretary of State, in a complicated world, people were interested in what I saw, what I thought, they asked questions about the matters that were on their mind, a lot of interest in the bin Laden raid, how such a tough decision was made and what I advised the president. You know, I think Americans who are doing business in every aspect of the economy want to know more about the world. I actually think it’s a good conversation to be having.[/pull_quote_center]

Todd asked Clinton if she thinks the banks “expect anything in return?”

“Absolutely not,” Clinton replied. “You know, first of all, I was a senator from New York. I took them on when I was senator. I took on the carried-interest loophole. I took on what was happening in the mortgage markets. I was talking about that in 2006. They know exactly where I stand.”

On the campaign trail in Iowa, Sanders criticized Clinton for taking in over $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, saying “You got to be really, really, really good to get $250,000 for a speech.”

According to The Intercept, Clinton earned over $2.9 million off of twelve speeches to various banks between 2013 and 2015. The Intercept noted that “Clinton’s most lucrative year was 2013, right after stepping down as secretary of state. That year, she made $2.3 million for three speeches to Goldman Sachs and individual speeches to Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments, Apollo Management Holdings, UBS, Bank of America, and Golden Tree Asset Managers.”

When Sanders said that the banks “expect to get something, everybody knows that” during a Democratic presidential debate in November 2015, Clinton responded that she has “hundreds of thousands of donors— most of them small,” and she went on to talk about her involvement in New York on 9/11. 

[pull_quote_center]I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.[/pull_quote_center]

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Clinton Claims Trump’s Muslim Comments Were Used in ISIS Recruitment Videos

During the third Democratic presidential debate on Saturday, candidate Hillary Clinton called GOP rival Donald Trump the Islamic State’s “best recruiter” and said that videos of him “insulting Islam and Muslims” are being used by ISIS “to recruit more radical jihadists.”

Clinton brought up Trump’s rhetoric regarding Muslims when she was asked about the need for gun control in the United States. She began talking about ISIS, and said she thinks the U.S. should be “welcoming and working with” the Muslim-American community.

[pull_quote_center]I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a ‘clash of civilizations,’ that there is some kind of Western plot or even ‘war against Islam,’ which then I believe fans the flames of radicalization.[/pull_quote_center]

Clinton went on to say that a lot of people are “understandably reacting out of fear and anxiety about what they’re seeing” after recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, and that Trump has “a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people and to make think there are easy answers to very complex questions.”

[RELATED: Trump Right on Legal Authority to Ban Muslim Immigrants, Other Pres. Candidates Hypocritical on Muslims?]

Clinton said that if it were up to her, she would focus on “watching what happens and reporting it if it’s suspicious,” as well as “making sure that Muslim-Americans don’t feel left out or marginalized at the very moment when we need their help.”

[pull_quote_center]And we also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don’t fall on receptive ears. He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.[/pull_quote_center]

When asked about Clinton’s comments, John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, said she stands by her claim that ISIS is using Trump to recruit jihadists.

Podesta told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that NBC recently “ran a piece citing the most important organization that follows ISIS on social media that said that they are using social media, that they are using Donald Trump as a recruitment tool.”

“That’s what she was referencing and that’s the interpretation we made,” Podesta said. “And I think that if you look at what is going on in the Middle East, the fact that Mr. Trump is on television over there all the time, the fact that ISIS is using him as a recruitment tool, I think it is a very fair charge.”

After investigating whether the rhetoric from the Clinton campaign was true, Politifact concluded that they “were unable to find any evidence to support” the claim:

[pull_quote_center]The Clinton campaign did not provide any evidence that this is already happening – only that it could be happening, or that it may in the future. If ISIS was using Trump for recruitment videos, we would expect a frenzy of media coverage over it. We rate this claim False.[/pull_quote_center]

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Democratic Debate: Candidates Clash on Foreign Policy, Fighting ISIS

In the wake of a series of terror attacks in Paris on Friday that left over 100 people dead and 99 in critical condition, CBS announced that it would shift the focus of Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate to include discussion of the attacks, which led to an array of commentary from the three candidates.

Steve Capus, the executive editor of CBS News and the executive producer of CBS Evening News, said that when the news team learned about the attack during rehearsals on Friday, they “immediately shifted gears and reformulated questions to make them more directly related to the attacks” for Saturday night’s debate.

“American leadership is put to the test,” Capus said. “The entire world is looking to the White House. These people are vying to take over this office.”

Democratic Debate: Clinton, Sanders Clash On NSA Spying

Democratic candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sparred over the NSA’s mass surveillance program during the first Democratic presidential debate, hosted by CNN, on Tuesday.

The Patriot Act, which is used by the National Security Agency to justify its collection of Americans’ data, was signed into law by former President George W. Bush on Oct. 26, 2001. Clinton, who was a senator in New York at the time, voted for the legislation. Sanders, who was a House representative in Vermont at the time, opposed it.

Debate moderator Anderson Cooper asked Clinton whether she regretted voting for the Patriot Act, and she responded, “No.”

Clinton insisted that the Patriot Act was necessary to ensure security in the aftermath of 9/11 and said that she spoke out about warrantless surveillance during the Bush administration.

“It was necessary to make sure that we were able, after 9/11, to put in place the security that was needed,” Clinton said. “What happened, however, is that the Bush administration began to chip away at that process, and I began to speak about their use of warrantless surveillance.”

“We always have to keep the balance of civil liberties, privacy and security. It’s not easy in a democracy, but we have to keep it in mind,” said Clinton. She did not answer directly if she would end NSA spying.

Sanders said that he would shut down the NSA’s current mass surveillance program.

“I’d shut down what exists right now,” Sanders said. “Virtually every telephone call in this country ends up in a file at the NSA. That is unacceptable to me. But it’s not just government surveillance. I think the government is involved in our e-mails; is involved in our websites. Corporate America is doing it as well. If we are a free country, we have the right to be free. Yes, we have to defend ourselves against terrorism, but there are ways to do that without impinging on our constitutional rights and our privacy rights.”

[RELATED: Sanders Changes Position on Placing Gun Crime Liability on Manufacturers]

However, when it came to the fate of Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who released documents in 2013 revealing information about the NSA’s controversial program, the two candidates came to somewhat similar conclusions.

“Snowden played a very important role in educating the American people to the degree in which our civil liberties and our constitutional rights are being undermined,” Sanders said. “He did break the law and I think there should be a penalty to that.”

[RELATED: Rand Paul Explains Why He Would Not Pardon Edward Snowden]

Snowden, who is currently seeking asylum in Russia, is facing felony charges in the United States for leaking classified NSA documents. He has said that he would consider going to prison in order to return to the U.S., as long as he did not “serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations.”

While Clinton did not define exactly the “important information” that has “fallen into a lot of the wrong hands,” she did say that she also believes Snowden should be punished for his actions.

“He broke the laws of the United States,” Clinton said. “He stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands. So I don’t think he should be brought home without facing the music.”

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