Rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders appeared in a one-hour Democratic presidential town hall event, and each faced citizens from onstage in Michigan taking questions from some undecided voters as well as the Fox News host, and chief political anchor, Bret Baier.
Trump or Cruz
Before commencing with the candidates, Baier reported that another New Yorker, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, has decided not to risk entering the Presidential race as an Independent because America might end up with Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, labeling one “extreme” and the other “divisive.”
Explaining further his decision over at Bloomberg, the billionaire writes that “[i]n a three-way race, it’s unlikely any candidate would win a majority of electoral votes, and then the power to choose the president would be taken out of the hands of the American people and thrown to Congress. The fact is, even if I were to receive the most popular votes and the most electoral votes, victory would be highly unlikely, because most members of Congress would vote for their party’s nominee. Party loyalists in Congress — not the American people or the Electoral College — would determine the next president.”
“As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz,” Bloomberg has decided. “That is not a risk I can take in good conscience.”
Sanders on ‘American democracy’
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was asked to give his reaction to the news that Bloomberg would not be running as a third-party candidate. “That’s his decision,” Sanders replied before elaborating on it. “What does concern me on a broader scale is that Mister Bloomberg is a billionaire, and I think it’s a bad idea for American democracy that the only people who feel in many ways that they can run for president are people who have so much money. one of the things that we believe in this campaign is to overturn the disastrous ‘citizens united’ Supreme Court decision for all people … .”
And then Baier brought up a comment Sanders made at Sunday night’s debate with Clinton which had caused “a bit of a stir” on social media and in political discussion. “You said this, quote,” said Baier. ‘When you are white, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor.’ Different communities interpreted that different ways. What did you mean by that?”
Poverty and desperation
“No, what I meant,” replied Sanders, “look, there is no candidate in this race who has talked more about poverty than I have. And one of the things that disturbed me –the media doesn’t often cover that– we’ve got 47 million people in this country living in poverty. That is a higher rate than any other country in the industrialized world.” Sanders went on to also mention high rate of childhood poverty.
“I talk about poverty all of the time,” Sanders continued with his reply. “What I meant was in these African American communities you have people living in desperation, often being abused by white police officers. That is a bad thing. That has got to change, and that is why I am fighting to reform a broken criminal justice system.”
Clinton on Bloomberg, Libya
Asked about Bloomberg not entering the race, Clinton gave her thoughts. “Well, I have the greatest respect for Mike Bloomberg. We worked together during the eight years I was in the Senate. He was elected, as you know, shortly after I joined, and he has to make his own decisions. But I look forward to continuing to work with him and finding ways that he can show leadership as he has done so well over the years.”
On to Libya then as Baier asked Clinton about being “the leading voice in the Obama Administration” for intervention which “obviously toppled [Muammar Gaddafi’s] dictatorship, using what you called ‘smart power.’And it’s important to point out that there were no U.S. casualties… . However, Libya now is in total chaos.” Baier mentioned that ISIS has taken advantage of this situation. With Libya’s financial resources dwindling the criminal enterprises [like human smuggling] are booming. So Baier wanted Clinton to comment that if the Libya intervention was one of her most successful foreign policy decisions would the post-intervention transition to be seen as one of greatest failures?
Arab Spring, dictators
“Well, Bret, let’s talk about it in a context,” answered Clinton, “and let’s remember what was going on at the time. It was during the so-called Arab Spring. People in Libya were living under the dictatorship of Gaddafi for 42 years were rising up, and he, as we can all remember, was a ruthless dictator with American blood on his hands. Ronald Reagan as you recall tried to take him out because of the danger he posed. And once it became clear to him that the people of Libya were trying to get more freedom and hopefully a better future, he basically said he was going to ‘hunt them down like cockroaches.'”
Clinton continued her answer. “The Europeans, who had a lot more of a connection with Libya going back many decades, were absolutely intent upon working with us and NATO. For the first time Arab countries stepped up and said ‘we will work with NATO because this man has paid for efforts to undermine us, assassinate our leaders. All around bad character,” Clinton added.
“So we did join with our European and Arab partners,” added Clinton. “He was overthrown. And let’s also remember that the Libyan people had voted twice, in free and fair elections, for moderate leaders, trying to get themselves a better future. Now what has happened is deeply uh regrettable. There have been forces coming from the outside, internal squabbles that have led to the instability that has given uh terrorist groups, including ISIS, a foothold in some parts of Libya. I think it’s fair to say, however, if there had not been that intervention to go after Gaddafi, we would be looking at something much more resembling Syria now, than what we faced in Libya now.”
Clinton added, when Baier asked a follow up question about people saying Libya being “a failed state,” that she would not put U.S. combat troops on the ground there to stop ISIS. She says now there is “a concerted effort” to unify different groups there.(More on the discussion can be found at Foxnews.)