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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

FLINT, Mich. (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton clashed angrily over trade, the auto industry bailout and Wall Street in a Michigan debate on Sunday, with Sanders accusing Clinton of backing trade deals that robbed the state of jobs.

In a debate in Flint, Michigan, Sanders said Clinton supported “disastrous” trade policies that moved manufacturing jobs out of cities like Flint and Detroit and shifted them overseas.

But Clinton said Sanders’ opposition to the 2009 auto bailout, a crucial issue in a state that is home to the U.S. auto industry, would have cost the state millions of jobs. The bailout, which Clinton supported, passed Congress and has been credited with helping save the U.S. industry.

“If everybody had voted the way he did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed, taking 4 million jobs with it,” Clinton, the former secretary of state, said of Sanders.

The debate came as Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, struggled to slow Clinton’s march to the nomination to face the Republican candidate in the Nov. 8 general election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama. Media organizations predicted that Sanders would win Sunday’s Maine caucus.

Sanders also questioned the sincerity of Clinton’s conversion to opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal.

Clinton “has discovered religion on this issue, but it’s a little too late,” he said. “Secretary Clinton supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade agreements written by corporate America.”

The two contenders cut each other off on several occasions, a rare occurrence in a race that has been much more polite than the raucous Republican presidential campaign.

“Excuse me, I’m talking,” Sanders said to Clinton when she tried to interrupt. “If you’re going to talk, tell the whole story,” Clinton responded.

Sanders repeated his charge that Clinton is too close to Wall Street and demanded again that she release the transcript of paid speeches she has given to Wall Street firms. Clinton said she would release them when all the candidates, including Republicans, also release transcripts of similar talks.

‘THERE AIN’T NOTHING’

Throwing up his hands, Sanders said: “I’ll release it. Here it is. There ain’t nothing! I don’t give speeches to Wall Street!”

The debate was held in Flint to highlight the city’s water contamination crisis, and both candidates expressed outrage at Flint’s plight and demanded state and federal money begin to flow immediately to begin relief and rebuilding efforts.

Both candidates condemned local officials who they said abetted the crisis in Flint, and demanded the resignation of Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan.

“People should be held accountable, wherever that leads,” Clinton said, adding an investigation should determine who in state and federal government was responsible. “There has to be absolute accountability.”

“What is going on is a disgrace beyond belief,” Sanders said, plugging his plan to spend $1 trillion to rebuild crumbling infrastructure across the United States.

The crisis in Flint, a predominantly black city of 100,000, was triggered when an emergency city manager installed by Snyder switched the city’s water supply to the nearby Flint River from Lake Michigan to save money.

The change corroded Flint’s aging pipes and released lead and other toxins into the water supply, exposing thousands of residents including children to high lead levels that have sparked serious health problems.

Both Democratic presidential contenders, vying for support from black voters in Michigan and nationally, have linked the crisis to broader racial and economic inequities.

Republican presidential candidates have steered clear of Flint on the campaign trail. When U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was asked about Flint during Thursday’s debate in Detroit, he defended Snyder and said the “politicizing” of the crisis was unfair.

CLINTON LEADS IN POLLS

Opinion polls show Clinton, 68, leading in Michigan and Mississippi, which vote on Tuesday. She also leads in polls in several big states that vote on March 15, including Ohio and Florida.

Sanders, 74, faces a tough challenge erasing Clinton’s lead of about 200 bound delegates who will choose the nominee at the July convention. Since the Democratic race awards delegates in each state proportionally, she will keep gathering delegates even in those states she loses.

The Democratic debate occurred one day after Sanders won nominating contests in Kansas and Nebraska, and Clinton won the bigger prize of Louisiana, a win that allowed her to slightly expand her delegate lead.

On the Republican side, front-runner Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas were angling on Sunday for a two-man race for the party’s presidential nomination after splitting four state nominating contests at the weekend.

The wins for Trump, 69, and Cruz, 45, on Saturday were a setback for party leaders, who have largely opposed Trump and hinted they prefer Rubio, 44, who took third or fourth in Saturday’s four Republican contests.

Cruz has been predicting a two-man race with Trump for several weeks.

On Sunday, Rubio was projected to win in Puerto Rico, his second victory to date in nominating contests across U.S. states and territories. Ohio Governor John Kasich, 63, the only other candidate remaining from a starting field of 17, has yet to win any state.

The Republican competition moves on Tuesday to Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii, where Trump hopes to expand his lead in delegates ahead of a party convention in July.

 

(Additional reporting by Alana Wise, Luciana Lopez and Jonathan Allen; Editing by Howard Goller and Peter Cooney)

Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks as rival Bernie Sanders listens during the Democratic U.S. presidential candidates’ debate in Flint, Michigan, March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young 

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31 responses to “Clinton, Sanders Clash Over Trade And Auto Bailout In Michigan Debate”

  1. Moose Man says:

    Show me the transcripts. Looks like Michigan will be closer than polls show. Sanders pre debate only down 11 now . Anxious to see Monday polls and fox attack tommorrow night. Still feeling the bern…..

    • FrankSFO says:

      What right do we have to demand transcripts from speeches she made as a private citizen. Why people consider donations from Wall Street, which comprise of only 3 to 3.9 percent of her total donations, so important over the other 97 percent of her donors, is beyond me.

      Why can’t we demand for meeting minutes from Cruz and Rubio, who receive millions and millions of donations from the Koch brothers. Their meetings occurred while they’re sitting U.S. Senators.

      Let me ask you, will you be voting for the Democratic nominee, whether it’s Bernie or
      Hillary?

      • A_Real_Einstein says:

        If she wants my vote, I need to confirm like she says that she is not influenced by the hundreds of millions dollars she receives from the special interest groups. We need to verify what she says in private is the same as what we she tells us. Iff she wants our votes (millions of us) then she better be transparent about this. Saying she will release them when Republicans do or being held to higher standard because she is a woman will not fly with American public. No transcripts no vote. The rest of the terrain is much more favorable to Bernie as we are mostly out of the Deep South. I do not think she can win this nomination without releasing these. She better come clean on this as Bernie continues to take away her supporters.

      • The lucky one says:

        Actually 7.2% is more accurate, The more interesting number would also include contributions from corporate giants and billioniares. It’s not just “Wall St.” that HRC is beholden to. I plan to vote for the best candidate.

        • FrankSFO says:

          As you know, the 7.2% includes donations made to the Super PAC, which Hillary has no control over those funds. Regardless, the donations represent a single percentage of all donations and I fail to see how she’s beholden to Wall Street. If anything, she’s beholden to the millions of individual contributors. She knows that and that’s why her policies on further reform on the financial and investment services industry are not favorable for them.

          She doesn’t need to run for President to ruin her stellar legacy as a public servant by screwing the American people. My belief is she truly feels she can build on what President Obama has established, for the good of our country and the future generation of Americans. She wants to build on her legacy and I sincerely doubt she would want a legacy of what people are alluding to. She has way too much pride for that.

          Question for you. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, will you be voting for her?

          • The lucky one says:

            I see her legacy much differently than you do. I’m more concerned about the big payoffs she received from banksters for speaking to them. Her retort that she will release the transcripts when the others who have taken similar payoffs do is disingenuous. We know Sanders is not beholden and has not received exorbitant payoffs from them as have all other candidates. We know she is referring to the repubs but we already know conclusively that they are for sale. She could prove she is different if it was true but without her releasing the transcripts we are left with the likely conclusion that she isn’t any different.

            As I said. I’m voting for the best candidate.

          • FrankSFO says:

            If it’s Hillary and Trump, who is the best candidate, in your eyes?

          • The lucky one says:

            If it’s just between the two of them HRC is the better candidate but the best candidate would be a 3rd party or a write-in. Asking who is better between those two is like asking would I prefer to eat cow dung or horse dung.

            A president can only do so much for better or worse. I don’t see congress working productively with either so their effects will be limited. With Trump i am concerned about the effect his public bigotry and misogyny will have on the type of ignorant fools his rallies attract. We’ve already seen that he condones and even incites thuggish mob behavior. Dems called Bush a divider and Repubs say the same about Obama but the kind of tribalism and hatred that Trump taps into will make the two of them look like Gandhi.

    • yabbed says:

      Vote for the Socialist. Make America just like Greece!

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    Local government officials in Flint bear the brunt of responsibility for the water tragedy in that city, but the root cause of the problem is the refusal to invest in infrastructure improvement and modernization. Our water supply, countrywide, is in desperate need of replacement, our power grid is inefficient and vulnerable to cyber attacks; our roads, tunnels, and bridges are in disrepair and in need of modernization; and so are our ports, airports, our flimsy dams, and most of our infrastructure.
    This is not a new problem, and it didn’t start 7 years ago, but it went on steroids when an irresponsible Congress refused to appropriate the funds needed to do mitigate the effects of years of neglect. Shame on the political partisans who affected the health of the people in Flint, and that compromised our future for political gain, and to make our first black President a one-term president.

    • CrankyToo says:

      USA! USA! USA! We’re the greatest!

      And we have Repugnicans in Congress to thank for it…

    • A_Real_Einstein says:

      I believe the decision to save a couple million dollars and switch to the Flint River for water supply was made by the Emergency Manager who was appointed directly by the governor. Are you saying the local leadership was to blame? Are you sure about that ?

      • Dominick Vila says:

        I should have said State government.

      • InformedVoter says:

        You are wrong. It WAS the local officials who made the decision. This is from the Detroit Free Press investigation. The investigation showed the EM took the advice of the Flint leaders. Those same local leaders, when challenged by the EM about the water quality, told the EM that the water was “good to go”. The same leaders made the decision to not treat the water to prevent corrosion.
        Don’t start quoting the definition of an EM. The facts in this case are as stated above.

  3. stcroixcarp says:

    The water crisis in Flint is what happens when republican businessmen take over state and local governments and run governments like a business. This is what the whole country will be like if the republicans win all three branches of the national government. The business model is all about money and power. People are reduced to players.

    • InformedVoter says:

      You should read Dominick’s post. He’s correct. It was the Flint local government that caused the financial problems that led to the decision to change the water supply. Flint has been run by Democrats for 30+ years. All 9 city council members and the mayor made the decision. All 10 are Democrat, and 8 are black. So they poisoned their own! Where’s the outcry for legal actions against them?

      • johninPCFL says:

        Sorry, it was the GOP appointed “manager” who decided to change to the poisoned pipes.

        • InformedVoter says:

          According to the Detroit Free Press, about as liberal a newspaper can get, the decision was made by the Flint leaders. The EM approved their recommendation. If the EM had made the decision, the Free Press would have been screaming all over Snyder and his team. Hence, you are mistaken, just like many on the left who think this was a Republican decision. FYI, the EM says he approved the move because he was certain that the local officials would claim he was taking away their authority to make decisions that were best for their own citizens.

          • ralphkr says:

            No, UNInformedVoter, the locals voted to change the source from Detroit to a lake. The state appointed Czar made the decision to use Flint River because that was much cheaper and quicker than building a pipeline to a lake. Your statement about the EM is ridiculous on the face of it since the locals have NO Decision making authority once a Czar takes over.

          • InformedVoter says:

            The Detroit Free Press has been investigating this story for many months. They have even examined all the governor’s e-mails (he gave them up, unlike Hitlery) and they have scoured them for weeks. If they could claim that the governor jay walked, they would be using that a reson to call for him to resign. Alas, they have been frustrated and had to admit that there is no evidence other than the local Flint authorities made the decision. The only blame they could put on the EM was he should not have allowed them to switch.
            I just love it when bigots like you, hoping it was a Republican who made the decision, can’t accept that it was the locals (Democrats) who made the switch.
            You should try looking at the facts instead of relying on wishful thinking sources.
            It has been outsiders who have been hired to come to Michigan with protest signs. While not condemning the protesters (the Free Press would love for the governor to resign) the Free Press continues to state that they can’t put the blame on anyone but the local authorities.
            So who’s the uninformed one now?

          • InformedVoter says:

            Anticipating that you’ll make reference to the TIME article, the Free Press contradicted the information that TIME published. But typical of lefty news sources, TIME didn’t have the professionalism to correct their own mistakes even after the Free Press did.

      • ralphkr says:

        Dear, UNInformedVoter, perhaps you should read the correction to Dominick’s post. You are half right that the local gov’t authorized a change in water source but 100% wrong that the locals changed it to the Flint River. The locals authorized a change of source from Detroit to lake water (it would take 3 years to build the needed pipeline) but it was the state appointed Czar who changed the source to Flint River over the objections of the locals. It was the Czar who poisoned his charges.

        • InformedVoter says:

          Your comments are nothing more than wishful thinking and totally lacking verifiable information.
          Dream on.

          • ralphkr says:

            And your comments, UNInformedVoter, lack any resemblance to the real world. Anyone who does not realize that when the governor of Michigan appoints an EM for an entity that said Czar has absolute power and the locals are just along for the ride is living in their own little fantasy world.

          • InformedVoter says:

            Yes, EMs have power and make many decisions. According to the Free Press investigation, the EM took the advice of local leaders to make the switch. In two separate cases, the EM questioned the quality of the water being delivered. Both times, local officials told the EM the water quality was “good to go”. The KWA project was underway, but after years of Democratic led mismanagement, local leaders decided not to wait. In addition, the local water department (run by Democratic appointees) decided that the chemical treatment to prevent the corrosion, was not needed. So, twice, the local leaders messed things up.
            ALL these facts have been made public by the Free Press investigation. The banter about EMs having unlimited power has nothing to do with this situation. So continuing to quote about absolute power for EMs is nothing but wishful dreaming. Reality is that local officials did it to their own people.

            Try looking at the facts instead of providing the definition of an EM’s power.

  4. yabbed says:

    The governor could have been correct in his assumption that in a Republican climate in government no one would notice some poor, primarily minority people suffering from toxic water that was imposed upon them because they were available and defenseless. Thank you, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, for drawing the spotlight to this crime and demanding Michigan correct this. The Republicans don’t like federal government ‘in their local business’ but look what happens when a Republican governor wants to save money and puts the price on the poorest of his state.

  5. Otto T. Goat says:

    The auto bailout was bad policy.

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