Democratic 2016 Candidates Meet for 2nd Debate

Student Democratic supporters watch a Democratic presidential primary debate as Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Democratic presidential candidates are debating for the second time in the 2016 nomination contest, this time in Des Moines.

The latest developments (all times local):


10:30 p.m.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is joining a raucous audience of about 750 people in Drake University’s union after the second Democratic debate for a quick campaign rally.

The event lacks any the solemnity that she and her two rivals showed at the start of the debate when they observed a moment of silence in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Clinton is imploring those in the mostly college-age audience to redouble their work for her campaign.

She says, “Because this is just the beginning. I need you on caucus night. Then I need you in November.”


10:15 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is greeting roughly 500 supporters who gathered at a movie theater near the site of the second Democratic debate.

“You killed it!” one man yelled as Sanders took the stage.

Sanders is with his wife and three of his four children. He’s thanking the crowd and repeating his argument that they are working for “real political revolution.”

He tells the cheering crowd, “If we work hard, I believe we’re going to win Iowa.”

Asked about the debate Sanders says, “I think it went great.”


10 p.m.

And the second debate of the Democratic campaign for president has come to an end with closing statements.

Martin O’Malley is pitching himself as a new leader, asking voters to discard the “divisive ideologies of our past” and “polarizing figures from our past.”

The former Maryland governor says he can create an economy that works for all and identify foreign threats before they “back us into military corners.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton turns attention back to economic issues in her closing statement.

She says that, “ultimately, I think the president’s job is to do everything possible, everything that she can do, to lift up the people of the country.”

Sanders closes the debate by again calling for a “political revolution,” saying it is unacceptable for the U.S. to have a “corrupt” campaign finance system, no universal health care, high childhood poverty and no guaranteed paid family medical leave.

He says, “That’s not the America that I think we should be.”


9:51 p.m.

Asked about his greatest test, Bernie Sanders cites his work on veterans’ health care in the wake of the Veterans Administration scandal — and not getting everything he wanted in his reform bill.

Sanders is the co-author of a veterans’ health care reform bill with GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

The legislation has been widely praised, but Sanders says it’s far from the bill he initially penned. Sanders says he was forced to go back to the drawing board after his initial legislation didn’t receive enough votes.

That moment, he says, represented a challenge he overcame.


9:49 p.m.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is pointing to no single crisis during his tenure as comparing to those that a president would face.

His reason? Because he says there is no test is like what he would face as president.

O’Malley says: “I can tell you that as a mayor and as a governor that I learned many disciplines. … I’ve been tried over many emergencies.”


9:48 p.m.

The Democratic candidates for president are answering a question about their greatest test and how it would prepare them for the rigors of serving in the White House.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton points to the deliberations over killing Osama bin Laden.

Clinton says being “part of a very small group” advising President Barack Obama on the matter “really did give me an insight into the very difficult problems presidents face.”

She says she advocated pursuing the assassination mission, despite intelligence she says “was by no means absolute.”

Clinton adds that “there was no one to talk to” outside the circle of advisers who had access to the intelligence and discussions. That includes her husband, former President Bill Clinton.


9:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says single-payer health insurance is the only way to go. But Hillary Rodham Clinton argues that she once thought this would happen and that “revolution never came.”

The Vermont senator and former secretary of state are clashing over health care in the second Democratic debate.

Sanders says changing to a single-payer system would take time but that it can happen “when millions of people stand up and agree to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies.”

Clinton retorts that Sanders’ plans would put too much power in the hands of the states.

She adds at the debate in Des Moines that “if I lived in Iowa, I would not want Terry Branstad administering my health care.”

Branstad is the Republican governor of Iowa.


9: 40 p.m.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is making an impassioned case for debt-free college and railing against high interest rates for federal student loans.

O’Malley often cites his own daughter’s college debt when he talks about lowering college costs.

He says he is proud of his daughters going to college and adds, “but we’re going to be proud every month for the rest of our natural lives. It doesn’t need to be that way.”

He says, “It doesn’t need to be that way.”

O’Malley’s debt-free college plan centers in part on getting states to contribute more to public colleges and universities.


9:35 p.m.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is turning a discussion about her emails into a broad-ranging attack on Republicans.

She says, “I do think it’s important to do exactly what Sen. Sanders said, and that is to start talking about the issues that the American people really care about.”

She says that there are “differences among us” on the Democratic debate stage. But, she adds, “they pale compared to what’s happening on the Republican side.”

Clinton then puts forth a list of what she calls “alarming plans.”

She says, “All of us support funding Planned Parenthood. All of us believe climate change is real. All of us want equal pay for equal work. They don’t believe in any of that. So let’s focus on what this election is really going to be about.”


9:30 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders still doesn’t care about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails.

Sanders suggested in a recent interview that the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email account and server while serving as secretary of state had merit.

But asked about that interview at the second Democratic debate, he jabs the media.

Sanders says, “That’s just media stuff. I was sick and tired of Hillary Clinton’s email. I am still sick and tired of Hillary Clinton’s email.”

Sanders says it’s time to move on, and Clinton seizes the opening to add, “I couldn’t agree more.”

Asked if she can promise the country that another shoe won’t drop in the email story, she points to her recent testimony before Congress when she was questioned about the issue.

She says, “I think after 11 hours, that’s pretty clear.”


9:25 p.m.

Bernie Sanders say the “political revolution” he’s trying to create can overpower a GOP-led Congress that he argues is beholden to big-money interests.

And he’s downplaying the idea that Congress doesn’t always listen to what the majority of Americans want.

He says most Americans want to improve infrastructure and raise the minimum wage. He claims that if people “stand up and fight back” they can take on corporate lobbyists and change the tone in Washington.

He says, “Enough is enough. This government belongs to us, not just the billionaires.”


9:20 p.m.

While the Democratic candidates agree on many issues, Martin O’Malley is stressing their differences on guns.

During the second Democratic debate, the former Maryland governor is highlighting his record in passing gun safety legislation.

He questions Sanders’ support for a 2005 measure to give gun manufacturers immunity from lawsuits. O’Malley also says that rival Hillary Rodham Clinton has been on “three sides of this issue.”

He says, “When you ran in 2000, you said we needed federal robust regulation, then in 2008 you were portraying yourself as Annie Oakley and saying we don’t need those regulations … and now you’ve come back around here.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders chimes in to note that Baltimore “is not now one of the safest cities in America.”

O’Malley is the former mayor of Baltimore, which recorded its 300th homicide of the year on Saturday.


9:10 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says the business model of Wall Street is “fraud.”

He pledges that no one from Wall Street will advise him on economic policy if he’s elected president.

Sanders is challenging Hillary Rodham Clinton on her ties to Wall Street as he promises to aggressively take on and break up the nation’s largest banks.

He says Wall Street has dominated Republican and Democratic presidential administrations.

He is chiding Clinton for suggesting that Wall Street bankers will play by the rules. He says the big banks operate through “greed and fraud.”

He says, “Who are we kidding? The business model of Wall Street is fraud, that’s what it is.”


9:05 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is saying at the second Democratic debate that Hillary Rodham Clinton is beholden to Wall Street financial institutions and will not act strongly enough to regulate them.

Of the plan Clinton is offering to regulate the nation’s financial industry, Sanders says simply: “Not good enough.”

He continues: “Let’s not be naive about it. Why over her political career has Wall Street been the major contributor to her campaign?”

Clinton replies sharply that as a senator from New York, she stood in Manhattan to help rebuild the financial heart of the nation after Sept. 11.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley jumps in to call Clinton’s plans “weak tea.”

O’Malley says you can’t be the candidate for Main Street by being “the candidate for Wall Street.”


9 p.m.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is deviating from her Democratic primary rivals on minimum wage.

Clinton says the federal wage floor should be raised to $12 per hour from the current $7.25. She says $15 is too high.

That’s the wage sought by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Clinton says she respects the concerns of economists and business leaders who argue such an immediate hike would lead to job losses and other negative consequences.

Sanders says he will “apologize to no one” for backing the $15 wage. He says that several U.S. cities already have gone to the higher level without suffering any catastrophic results.

Both Sanders and O’Malley argue that higher wages benefit the overall economy, because workers have more money to spend as consumers.

O’Malley says, “We should stop taking our advice from economists on Wall Street.”


8:55 p.m.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says the United States must focus on immigration reform, rather than more border security.

During the second Democratic debate, O’Malley says that that net immigration from Mexico last year was zero.

He says: “Fact check me. Go ahead. Check it out.”

O’Malley argues that the real focus should be on providing a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally.


8:45 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he wants public college tuition to be free for all Americans and will pay for it by raising taxes, but he won’t say by how much.

Sanders says, “There must be a tax on Wall Street speculation. … It’s their turn to bail out the middle class.”

But when asked specifically by how much he’ll raise taxes, Sanders replies that “we haven’t come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90 percent.”

He zings, “I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower.”

Sander is a longtime independent who often calls himself a democratic socialist.


8:40 p.m.

The Democratic presidential debate has shifted away from foreign policy and is now focused on domestic issues.

And the three Democratic candidates say they agree that wealthy citizens and corporations should pay more in taxes to benefit the middle class.

All say they support reducing the costs of college and paid family leave. Hillary Rodham Clinton says she’ll close loopholes and eliminate deductions that benefit big corporations.

She says, “I’ve made very clear hardworking, middle-class families need a raise, not a tax increase.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says he’s the only one with a record of keeping college costs low.

During his tenure as governor, Maryland’s university system froze tuition for four years. He says wealthier Americans should be willing to contribute more for the benefit of everyone.


8:35 p.m.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, French President Francois Hollande vows that his nation will wage “merciless” war on the Islamic State.

At the Democratic debate, Hillary Rodham Clinton is deflecting a question of whether she would declare war on the militant group.

The former secretary says the United States has to beef up its intelligence capabilities. She says, “It is difficult finding intelligence that is actionable, but we have to keep on trying. … There’s a lot of work we need to keep doing.”

Her rival Bernie Sanders interrupts, suggesting that too little of the existing U.S. military budget of $600 billion is used to fight “international terrorism.”

Instead, Sanders complains that too much is spent to maintain nuclear weapons that he sees as part of the U.S. military strategy of the last century.


8:32 p.m.

The Republican candidates for president are jumping on the refusal of the Democratic candidates to say the words “radical Islam” at their debate.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweets, “Yes, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism.”

Rick Santorum adds on Twitter, “@HillaryClinton how can we defeat our enemy if we cannot identify who they are and what motivates them?”

Says Carly Fiorina on Twitter: “Hillary Clinton will not call this Islamic terrorism. I will.”


8:30 p.m.

All three Democratic presidential candidates are declining to use the term “radical Islam” at the party’s second debate, a description used by many of their Republican rivals.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says, “I don’t think we are at war with Islam. … I think we’re at war with jihadists.”

She adds that “it’s not particularly helpful” to use language that alienates many Muslims, and she notes that Republican President George W. Bush made a similar point after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says, “I don’t think the term is important.” He says the more important issue is the “entire world coming together” to defeat militants.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says using the term “radical Islam” is unnecessarily offensive to Muslims in America. He says he prefers “radical jihadists” and describes them as a group that is “perverting the name of a major world religion.”


8:25 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says countries in the Middle East must get more involved in the fight against the Islamic State.

During a foreign policy discussion during the second Democratic debate, Sanders calls the current conflict a “war for the soul of Islam.”

He says that other Muslim countries in the region will need to get “deeply involved” and lead the effort. He mentions Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Jordan by name.

Hillary Rodham Clinton calls the comment “unfair” to some counties, in particular Jordan. She says Jordan has “put a lot on the line” for the United States.

But Clinton says she agrees that Turkey and the Gulf nations should decide if they will stand with the United States against “this kind of jihadi radicalism.”


8:20 p.m.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says simply toppling dictators is not a suitable foreign policy for the 21st century, referring to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

O’Malley is attempting to draw a contrast with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on foreign policy during the second Democratic debate.

He says Syria, Libya and Afghanistan are “a mess” and that the United States isn’t doing enough to build stable democracies after toppling dictators.

He says the United States needs better “human intelligence” on the ground to understand what actors will step up to fill the void after dictators fall.


8:17 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vote as a New York senator for the resolution to allow the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Sanders says, “I don’t think any sensible person” would have supported the use-of-force resolution.

He calls the invasion “the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States.”

Clinton has said the 2002 vote was a mistake, but says there were acts leading up to the invasion that suggested Islamic extremists had struck at U.S. installations.


8:15 p.m.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is defending the Obama administration’s initial approach to the rise of Islamic State, including her actions as secretary of state.

Clinton rejects the notion that she underestimated the militants, and she blames their rise on leaders in the Middle East and names former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Clinton says al-Maliki did not do enough to maintain stability in Iraq once the U.S. turned over control of the nation.

She adds that she did advocate that the U.S. do more to “train and equip moderates” in Syria, which has since fallen into civil war.


8:10 p.m.

A look at the opening statements from the second presidential Democratic debate.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders begins with sharp language for the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attack in Paris.

He says, “Together, leading the world, this country will rid our planet of this barbarous organization.”

But Sanders also pivots from the attacks to the economic issues that are the focus of his campaign.

Front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton keeps to the attacks in her statement, saying “our prayers are with the people of France tonight.”

She adds: “But that is not enough. We need to have a resolve that will bring the world together to root out the kind of radical, Jihadist ideology that motivates organizations ISIS.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley touts his executive experience in his opening remarks, and says the U.S. needs “new thinking” and “new leadership” to respond to threats like those posed by the Islamic State.


8 p.m.

The second debate of the Democratic campaign for president is underway, and it’s starting with a moment of silence for the victims of the attacks in Paris.

A coordinated gun-and-suicide bombing attack tore across Paris on Friday, leaving at least 129 people dead and 352 injured. It marked the deadliest violence on French soil since World War II.

French President Francois Hollande has vowed that his country will wage “merciless” war on the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the carnage.

The candidates will each make an opening statement before the debate’s first section focuses on the attacks and foreign policy.


7:45 p.m.

The Democratic candidates for president are gathering for the party’s second debate of the 2016 campaign, a meeting that will take place in the shadow of the attacks in Paris.

The campaigns have tangled with debate host CBS over the format of the debate in the hours before the debate.

When CBS said on a conference call with the campaigns that it wanted to focus the opening statement and the first section of the debate on the Paris attacks, the campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders vigorously disagreed.

That’s according to a participant on the call, who spoke on condition of anonymity and was not authorized to speak publicly.

Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver says the key issue is a proposal to shorten the opening statements from 90 seconds to 30 seconds in order to move quickly to questions in a debate unfolding a day after the Paris attacks.

The Vermont senator’s campaign says it successfully argued on behalf of the longer opening statements, which all three candidates will deliver.

The debate will begin with a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the attacks.

— By Ken Thomas.


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