Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sparred Sunday in a Michigan debate peppered with testy exchanges over trade policy and gun rights.
It also featured Sanders stopping Clinton from interrupting him, a move that drew some cheers, boos and gasps from the crowd.
Hillary had just answered a question from an audience member about what she would do to stop manufacturing and auto industry jobs from moving overseas. “I’m going to do what I think will work which is both carrots and sticks,” she said. “We’re going to have a very clear set of proposals and incentives for manufacturing so that we change the way that companies think about making investments again in America. I have a comprehensive manufacturing plan that I will be implementing.”
Bernie quipped he was “very glad” that she “discovered religion on this issue, but it’s a little bit too late.”
“Secretary Clinton supported virtually every one of the disastrous trade agreements written by corporate America,” he said.
After a back-and-forth on NAFTA and TPP, Clinton criticized Sanders for voting against President Obama’s auto-industry bailout in 2009.
“I voted to save the auto industry,” she declared. “He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference.”
“If you are talking about the Wall Street bailout, where some of your friends destroyed this economy…” Sanders began.
“You know…” Clinton interjected.
“Excuse me, I’m talking,” Bernie stopped her.
“If you’re gonna talk, tell the whole story, Senator Sanders,” she shot back.
“Let me tell my story. You tell yours,” he retorted.
Both candidates were asked about gun control by a man whose daughter was wounded two weeks ago when an Uber driver went on a shooting spree in Kalamazoo.
Clinton criticized Sanders for backing lawsuit protection for gunmakers, arguing “it removed any accountability from the makers and the sellers.”
“And it also disrupted what was a very promising legal theory, to try to get makers to do more to make guns safer for example,” Clinton continued. “To try to give sellers more accountability for selling guns when they shouldn’t have. So that is an issue that Senator Sanders and I differ on, I voted against giving them immunity, but I think we should very seriously move to repeal that and go back to making sure gun makers and sellers are like any other business. They can be held accountable.”
Asked about the intention of Sandy Hook families to sue Remington for making the gun used in the elementary school massacre, Sanders said he disagreed with the premise.
“If you go to a gun store and you legally purchase a gun, and then, three days later, if you go out and start killing people, is the point of this lawsuit to hold the gun shop owner or the manufacturer of that gun liable?” Bernie said. “If that is the point, I have to tell you I disagree. I disagree because you hold people — in terms of this liability thing, where you hold manufacturers’ liable is if they understand that they’re selling guns into an area that it’s getting into the hands of criminals, of course they should be held liable.”
“But if they are selling a product to a person who buys it legally, what you’re really talking about is ending gun manufacturing in America. I don’t agree with that.”
Clinton needled Sanders for slamming corporate greed, while “the gun manufacturers sell guns to make as much money as they can make.”
“You’re not the only person whose heart was broken,” Sanders noted of Sandy Hook. “We all feel that way. But it, as I understand it, what you’re really talking about is people saying let’s end gun manufacturing in America. That’s the implications of that, and I don’t agree with that.”
Sanders is coming off two Super Saturday wins — Nebraska and Kansas — while Clinton took Louisiana. Bernie easily beat Hillary in Maine on Sunday, picking up two-thirds of that state’s delegates.
“The pundits might not like it but the people are making history,” Sanders said in a statement. “We now have the momentum to go all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.”
— Nick Pacilio (@NickPacilio) March 7, 2016