When the Democratic National Committee released its debate schedule last August, Thursday night’s matchup in New Hampshire wasn’t on it. There was almost a month, and multiple primary contests, between a January debate in South Carolina and the next, scheduled for late February, in Milwaukee.
In a dramatic twist, MSNBC and New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper went rogue, forcing the issue and finalizing plans for an “unsanctioned” debate with less than a week to spare.
So, less than a week after Hillary Clinton eked out a narrow victory over Bernie Sanders in Iowa, the pair ended up on the debate stage at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Absent for the first time since the debates began was Martin O’Malley, who suspended his campaign after Iowa. (Goodbye sweet, guitar-strumming prince. If we don’t see you at an open mic night soon, at least we’ll always have The View).
Moderators Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd asked the candidates to “draw out the differences” between themselves, and Clinton and Sanders obliged, contrasting their positions on issues like financial reform, the Iraq War and the death penalty. They also debated, heatedly, whether Clinton can or should be called a progressive or an establishment candidate.
But, since this was a Democratic debate, it ended up with both candidates shaking hands and exhorting voters: Please, just don’t pick a Republican.
Here were the evening’s top moments.
1. “I believe in raising the minimum wage and equal pay for work, but the numbers just don’t add up, from what Sen. Sanders has been proposing…. It is just not achievable.” -Clinton
2. “I’m not making promises that I cannot keep.” -Clinton
3. “Well, I haven’t quite run for president before.” -Sanders on why he hasn’t achieved his proposals already
4. “The middle class bailed out Wall Street in their time of need. Now, it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle class.” -Sanders
5. “Who’s left in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party? Under his definition, President Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street, Vice President Biden is not progressive because she supported Keystone…” -Clinton on Sanders’ definition of “progressive”
6. “If we’re going to get into labels, I don’t think it was particularly progressive to vote against the Brady Bill five times.” -Clinton
7. “I’m a progressive who gets things done. Cherry-picking a quote here or there doesn’t change my record of having fought for racial justice, having fought for kids’ rights, having fought the kind of inequities that fueled my interest in service in the first place.” -Clinton
8. “Before it was called Obamacare, it was called Hillarycare.” -Clinton
9. “She has the entire establishment, or almost the entire establishment, behind [her]…. That’s a fact, I don’t deny it.” -Sanders
10. “Yes, Secretary Clinton does represent the establishment. I represent, I hope, ordinary Americans, who are not all that enamored with the establishment.” -Sanders
11. “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly. You will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation I ever received… I think it’s time to end the very artful smear you and your campaign have been carrying out.” -Clinton
12. “Let’s talk about why, in the 1990s, Wall Street got deregulated. Did it have anything to do with the fact that Wall Street spent billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions? Some people might think, yeah, that had some influence.” -Sanders
13. “In my view, the business model of Wall Street is fraud.” -Sanders
14. “We’re going to have to break [the big banks] up, or we’re going to have to bail them out again.” -Sanders
15. “I’ll look into it.” -Clinton on whether she’ll release the transcripts of her paid speeches
16. “A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS.” -Clinton on Sanders’ foreign policy plan
17. “We cannot be the policemen of the world.” -Sanders
18. “When you ran against Sen. Obama, you called him naive — naive — because he thought it was a good idea to talk to our enemies. I think those are exactly the people you have to talk to and you have to negotiate with.” -Sanders to Clinton
19. “You have 22 delegates. I have 20 delegates. We need 2,500 delegates to win the nomination. This is not the biggest deal in the world.” -Sanders on the close finish in Iowa
20. “Whatever they decide to do, that’s fine.” -Clinton on a proposed audit into the results of the Iowa caucus
21. “I’ve been vetted. There’s hardly anything you don’t know about me.” -Clinton
22. “I am 100 percent confident…. I have no concerns about it whatsoever.” -Clinton, on the inquiry into her emails
23. “There’s not a day that goes by when I am not asked to attack her on that issue, and I have refrained from doing that, and I will continue to refrain from doing that.” -Sanders on Clinton’s (damn) emails
24. “I have much more confidence in the federal system and I do reserve it for really heinous crimes in the federal system.” – Hillary Clinton on when she supports the death penalty
25. “In a world of so much violence and killing, I just don’t believe that government itself should be part of the killing.” -Sanders on the death penalty
26. “I never said that.” -Clinton disputing moderator Chuck Todd’s assertion that when she looks at Sanders she does not “see a president”