Live Blog: Fourth Democratic Debate


Tonight’s debate is likely to feature some fireworks and a good exchange of ideas between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders–as long as the moderators can keep Martin O’Malley from constantly breaking in with his patented line “I’ve actually already done that in Maryland.”

Mediaite has the basics on how to watch the debate. It will be available on line at the NBC News website and YouTube. It begins at nine and goes for two hours.

The back and forth between Hillary and Bernie this week has been interesting, to say the least. Hillary seems to have gotten under Bernie’s skin too, because he has now partially flip flopped on his vote to immunize gun dealers from liability, his campaign has promised to release specifics on his health car plan and how he hopes to pay for it “very soon,” and they’ve also said they’ll release a “doctor’s note” on Sanders’ health.

Just a couple of days ago the Sanders campaign announced they wouldn’t release the health care tax figures and they previously pooh poohed the need to release medical records.


I’ve thought for awhile now that Sanders has begun to believe his own reviews in the media. After reading what he said on Face The Nation this morning, I’m convinced he has allowed the failure of the media to vet him and the adulation of his supporters to go to his head.

Sanders: I have a “good chance” to win 2016 election.

“I think we have a good chance to win both those states,” he said of Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold nominating contests. “I think we have a good chance to win this election.”

If he does win, Sanders predicted his campaign would come to be known as “one of the great political upsets in modern history.”

He is feeling so good, in fact, that the Vermont senator told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson that while he was watching President Obama’s final State of the Union address last week, “the thought did cross my mind” that he could be delivering that address in the near future.

Then he caught himself.

“It’s a very humbling feeling,” he said, but added a moment later, “It’s a long way to go before we talk about inaugural speech, before we toss State of the Union speeches in.”

Hmmm…. he doesn’t sound so humble.

Bernie guns

I have a few other good links for you on Bernie.

First a diary from DailyKos (!) on the health care law that Sanders has proposed multiple times in Congress: Sanders’ Health Care Plan. The diarist simply reports the contents of Senate Bill 1782, introduced in December 2013. Please go read it.

The law would end Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program, and TRICARE. The money that was going into those programs, and use it to fund a “single payer” plan to be run and partially paid for by the states.

We already know that Supreme Court is not going to force states to accept something they don’t want from the Feds. That was their decision on the ACA Medicaid expansion. Even if Sanders could somehow get this through the Republican Congress, it would never get past SCOTUS.

I can’t even imagine what would be involved in implementing this. Right now, Medicare has low overhead costs because it turns over administration of supplemental plans to insurance companies–which would be outlawed in Sanders’ alternative universe.

I’m on Medicare and I get help paying my premiums from the government. Those premiums are more than $100 per month. Basic Medicare only pays for hospital bills, so I also have a government funded supplemental plan with very high co-pays that I get “free.” At least I can go to a doctor if it’s absolutely necessary. What would happen to people like me when all that infrastructure is demolished?

Here’s another must-read that Babama posted in a comment yesterday.


The People’s View: Chelsea Clinton was Right: Everyone’s Health Care is Threatened under Bernie’s Plan.

Recently, Chelsea Clinton got panned for saying that Bernie Sanders’ health care plan – commonly heralded as ‘Medicare for All’ by the revolution-peddlers – would give Republican governors the opportunity to dismantle publicly funded health insurance for the poor and middle class, that is, Medicaid and the health insurance exchanges. Seems absurd to accuse a self-proclaimed socialist with a proclaimed demand for single-payer universal health insurance of trying to take away health care. Politifact rated Chelsea Clinton’s claims ‘mostly false.’

Politifact got it wrong. Bernie Sanders’ plan does, in fact, allow for states to take away health care from the poor and middle-income, if not most everyone in a state. Although, that shouldn’t be a surprise, given that Sanders’ plan itself targets the economically disadvantaged for punishment. As Politifact notes, Sanders hasn’t proposed a full health care plan for his presidential campaign, instead choosing to use a bill Sanders introduced in the Senate in 2013 without a single cosponsor, titled ‘American Health Security Act of 2013’ as the template.

Poltiifact notes it is in fact true that Sanders’ plan repeals all health insurance funding from Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance exchanges. But he would channel the revenue instead to fund the single-payer system! [….]

The problem is, what Sander’s bill “seeks to” do and what it actually does are quite different. Since Politifact helpfully pointed us to Sanders’ 2013 bill, I decided to read it. In short, it ends all funding to Medicaid, Medicare, SCHIP an the ACA insurance provisions, directs it to this single-payer insurance program, raises additional revenue on the back of those who can least afford it, and charges states with the job of actually running it.

Each state, in theory, would have its own program that follows basic guidelines and the vast majority of the funding (80-90%) is provided by the federal government.  Nonetheless, for states that refuse to run their own program, federal authorities – specifically, a Board – can do so instead. Sanders’ bill would also ban the sale of private health insurance.

Until I read that last night, I really didn’t understand how clueless Sanders really is. Please read the whole thing if you haven’t already, because Robert Reich is running around saying the plan makes sense.


One more Bernie link from Dean Barker at “Birch Paper.” This one has been getting retweeted a lot today. The piece takes us back to the early days of Sanders’ political career when he ran again and again for office, and always lost. Then he got smart and used guns to get into Congress.

Sanders repeatedly talks about how he lost an election because he supported a ban on assault weapons. What really happened is that Sanders did so well in a third-party run that he got Republican Peter Smith elected. After he got to Washington, Smith’s conscience bothered him and he ended up supporting a bill to ban assault weapons.

In 1990, Sanders ran for the House seat again, and defeated Smith with the help and monetary support of the NRA. So when Bernie went to Washington, he voted against the Brady bill–repeatedly.

You have to read that article! There are tons of good links in there too.

Hillary was on the morning shows today too, and she learned from George Stephanopoulos that Karl Rove’s super pac is running an ad in Iowa that supports Sanders attacks on her.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laughed off a new attack ad from a Republican super PAC run by Karl Rove during an interview Sunday on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.

The web spot, titled “Hillary’s Bull Market,” was launched by American Crossroads, which is run by the Republican strategist and former President George W. Bush adviser. After watching the ad for the first time during her interview on “This Week,” Clinton just smiled.

“I think it shows how desperate the Republicans are to prevent me from becoming the nominee,” Clinton said about the ad, which goes after her ties to Wall Street. “I find that, in a perverse way, an incredibly flattering comment on their anxiety, because they know that not only will I stand up for what the country needs, I will take it to the Republicans.”


CNN’s report on the morning shows: Hillary Clinton zeroes in on Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton on Sunday sharpened her attacks on Bernie Sanders over the Vermont senator’s record on gun control, just hours ahead of their fourth debate as both vie for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I am very pleased that he flip-flopped on the immunity legislation,” Clinton told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” a day after Sanders, who had been hammered by her campaign for his past position, announced he would change course and back legislation to reverse a 2005 law granting firearm manufacturers legal immunity.

She then called on her rival to do the same with the so-called “Charleston loophole,” which allows licensed dealers, once they have initiated a federal background check, to complete the gun sale in question if they haven’t hears back from authorities after three days.

Good news for Hillary:


Time: Poll: Hillary Clinton Leads Bernie Sanders Nationally By 25 Points.

Hillary Clinton is leading Bernie Sanders in a new national poll ahead of Sunday’s final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses.

The former Secretary of State is beating Sanders by 25 points nationally, according to according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of likely Democratic primary voters. Clinton is the top pick among 59% of Democratic primary voters, while Sanders has the support of 34%, the survey shows. Third-place candidate Martin O’Malley got the support of just 2% of likely voters.

Read the rest at CNN.

And From US News: Yes, Hillary’s Still the Inevitable Democratic Nominee She can recover even if she loses the first two nominating states to Bernie Sanders. Here’s why. Read about it at the link. It’s not easy find a brief excerpt to summarize the findings.

I’m putting this up a little early so we’ll have time to discuss these articles–or anything else you want to talk about–before the debate begins at 9PM. I look forward to reading your reactions to what happens tonight. This is the most important debate yet!

147 Comments on “Live Blog: Fourth Democratic Debate”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I hope Hillary wipes the floor with Bernie tonight!

  2. dakinikat says:

    Hey thx for this! Sanders just released his plan minutes ago.

    Pretty damn Sneaky.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I just read this pdf of it. Not very detailed in terms of how it would happen.

      Click to access Medicare-for-All.pdf

      It’s the same as everyone has been quoting from his 2013 bill.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Austin Goolsbee’s analysis of Bernie’s proposals and how much taxes would need to go up.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Sanders’ basic argument against the newspaper articles characterizing his health plan as needing a $15 trillion tax increase has been that we shouldn’t think about tax rates alone but should ask the broader question of whether people are better or worse as a whole after the program goes into effect. If a single-payer health plan lowers health costs overall then his reasoning says that the taxes we raise for the health plan will be less than what people currently spend on health care and if we concentrate those taxes on the rich, then a typical person could actually be better off after the tax than they were before.

          As a theoretical matter, that’s not wrong. We should try to make that kind of calculation when we think about government programs. The thing is, though, that argument does rely quite heavily on the economic notion of “pass-though”. Oversimplifying here: the Sanders health essentially plan puts all current health costs onto the government but will pay for it with cost savings and with taxes including a payroll and income taxes around 9%. Doing that frees companies from their currently massive health care costs. The Sanders plan counts on the employers then passing all of that savings though to their employees in the form of higher wages (and not keeping part of it as higher profits). If the companies don’t pass it on, then, for sure, workers will end up worse off because they will pay the 9% payroll and income taxes but not have higher incomes to compensate (remember that employers pay about 75% of the normal health insurance premium for their workers so their savings on the employee contribution for health care will not normally add up to anything close to the 9% tax hike they’re paying. They need the employer to pass on the other 75% to them).

          So you need to decide whether companies would pass through the savings to employees. Would they? Many economists trust that markets would pass it through. Ironically, many of the Democrats that, like Sanders himself, have called for a repeal of the “Cadillac Tax” on expensive health insurance plans have implicitly presumed the opposite. They fear that the Cadillac tax will lead companies to reduce or eliminate generous health care plans without raising employee’s wages in return.

          But even with complete pass through, there are some significant low and middle income groups that would face net tax increases under a Sanders health plan. Generally, people that currently pay less than 9% of their income on health insurance will be worse off under a plan with free health care but a 9% tax to pay for it. That makes me think the plan hasn’t been well thought through.

        • dakinikat says:

          Glad some one could look at it.

          • bostonboomer says:

            That’s not based on what was released today. It’s based on the 2013 plan that Sanders proposed to Congress and no one–even Elizabeth Warren–would sign on to it. The plan he released today is the same as far as I can tell. The tax increases are the same. Goolsbee says lots of middle and working class families would end up paying a lot more than with the ACA.

    • Fannie says:

      Here is an article on Time, with Bernie’s Health Care Plan: He went from 6.7 payroll to 6.2, and didn’t explain the 14% states will have to pay, that’s a big tax payer increase. I don’t understand why he can’t get it, it is going to hurt those who already have free health care, and those are your poor people. States are going to have to pay, and what do you think about those Red States?

  3. bostonboomer says:

    I didn’t know until today that Bernie voted for the Hyde amendment. Sorry, I was wrong about that. But will he fight to repeal it like Hillary will?

    Hillary is making the Hyde amendment a campaign issue, and vows to repeal it.

  4. Fannie says:

    Yes, that’s Hillary Plans on Hyde Amendment……….Chuck Todd is driving me crazy. I wish he would talk about the 331 super delegates Hillary has, and the 11 that Bernie has.

    Really, I can’t wait, in another 3 weeks, things are going to be moving really fast in South Carolina.

    Away we go!

  5. janicen says:

    I’m sorry, I’m coming down with a cold and don’t feel up to watching. I’ll catch up with you guys tomorrow. Go Hillz!

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    I am giving up Downton Abby for this. Better be worth it.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Bernie says we should continue MLK’s legacy and then shifts into talking about his economic issues, nothing about racism.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    O’Malley announces that he was born near “where MLK delivered his I have a dream speech,” i.e. Washington, DC.

    Wow, Martin.

  9. Pat Johnson says:

    Bernie says the same thing over and over. I could repeat his stump speech verbatim.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Bernie looks and sounds angry.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    O’Malley goes on and on. Why is he still running?

  12. Pat Johnson says:

    Whoever did her hair and make up tonight has taken 20 yrs,off her actual age.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Here we go. O’Malley says he’s the only one who has actually brought people together to pass gun control laws.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Once again, Bernie pivots to economic issues instead of talking about racism.

  15. Fannie says:

    Sorry Bernie didn’t read the polls today………Hillary has 25 point lead.

  16. Pat Johnson says:

    Marty is at 4 percent. Why is he still in the race? Delusional much?

  17. ANonOMouse says:

    Bernie cannot get off the stump speech. He is so repetitious just listening to him is tiring. I think I know his stump speech better than he does

    • Pat Johnson says:

      He is working on my last nerve tonight.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        He’s a piece of work. I can’t wait for them to get off of domestic issues and begin talking about Foreign Policy so I can see that lost in the 60’s look on his face, again.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Is it just me, or does he seem to be freaking out? This is the first week in which he has really faced some scrutiny.

  18. Fannie says:

    Why do they rehash the same questions. Here’s my questions: What would you do about the water poisoning in Flint, Michigan. What would you do about the criminals in Harney Co. Oregon? And what would you have done differently with the prisoners being released from Iran?

    How about those questions….what would you ask?

  19. ANonOMouse says:

    Damn…….O’Malley talking about “my state”, again!!!!!

  20. Pat Johnson says:

    Blah blah from Marty.

  21. ANonOMouse says:

    Hillary, TELLING IT LIKE IT IS!!!

  22. Pat Johnson says:

    Is there anything she doesn’t’ know?

  23. bostonboomer says:

    Sanders is getting so much time!

  24. Pat Johnson says:

    Marty, STFU!!!

  25. Pat Johnson says:

    Talking over and interrupting is more than annoying.

  26. dakinikat says:

    He’s shouting and interrupting so much he’s losing his voice.

  27. Pat Johnson says:

    This is beginning to sound like an evening at home with my ex husband and me!

  28. ANonOMouse says:

    OMG…..O’Malley’s “I’m the only person on this stage” routine. Goddamn he makes that same statement in every debate

  29. roofingbird says:

    O’Malley does the same thing as Kasich, repeat endlessly his time as Gov.

  30. roofingbird says:

    72% from fossil fuels. The younger generation knows. The Chinese climate hoax, I like that.

  31. bostonboomer says:

    Martin O’Malley, SHUT UP!!!!!

  32. roofingbird says:

    O’Malley 100% fossil fuel free by 2050.

  33. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s something to make you laugh out loud:

    Marco Rubio cites Ronald Reagan as Iran negotiating model

    I guess he doesn’t know about Iran Contra.

  34. Fannie says:

    And there’s Chuck Todd with his Bernie Banner!

  35. roofingbird says:

    The Commander in Chief Test?

  36. roofingbird says:

    Who picks the music?

  37. ANonOMouse says:

    Great they’re going to talk foreign policy and situations around the world. I’m anxious to see how Bernie Sanders turns that into an inequality stump speech and how O’Malley compares that to his work in Maryland

  38. roofingbird says:

    Iran, Sanders. Iran is getting it’s sanctioned dollars back, and we will open an embassy. Move forward.

  39. roofingbird says:

    Clinton says she was responsible for the sanctions. Move forward but go after their other bad behavior.

  40. roofingbird says:

    O’Malley didn’t get to speak.

  41. ANonOMouse says:

    Bernie on Syria “this is incredibly complicated and difficult” Wow!!! Who knew???

  42. Pat Johnson says:

    I cannot disagree with Bernie on the Midwest.

  43. roofingbird says:

    No boots on the ground here.

  44. roofingbird says:

    Red lines…should Obama have stuck to his promise? Clinton-we were able to the chemicals out. If any blame it is the Iraq sectioning of Sunnis. and Assad.

  45. Pat Johnson says:

    Martin O’Malley, the Jeb! Bush if the Dem debate.

  46. bostonboomer says:

    This is word for word what O’Malley has said in the other debates.

  47. roofingbird says:

    Syria. Sanders says Assad is a butcher but first priority is ISIS. Then Assad. O’Malley we don’t have the intelligence.

  48. bostonboomer says:

    Hillary is so knowledgeable she makes the other two look ridiculous.

  49. roofingbird says:

    Clinton-Putin relationship is “Interesting” ha!

  50. roofingbird says:

    Privacy rights versus Government backdoor rights for the internet

  51. roofingbird says:

    Bernie’s right on this the biggest invasion is corporate.

  52. Fannie says:

    I see the next question after this break is why are we giving Iran money. We aren’t it’s there money.

  53. roofingbird says:

    Martin is going to sign up for Trumps lists! I think there was real emotion behind that.

  54. roofingbird says:

    Clinton is defining Bill’s role. Sanders, no Goldman Sach’s in the administration. Sanders doesn’t want to debate bills personal behavior.

    • Fannie says:

      Andrea, is stooping so low, just like she did in San Bernadino…….come on in, and look around the apartment and take photos etc. Should have known Roof, mention Bill, and see how they run with it. That’s why these debates should not be run be “journalist”

      Bernie should have shut her down in a split second. Period.

  55. roofingbird says:

    Did we all fall asleep?

  56. Fannie says:

    I’m damn near sleeping.

  57. Fannie says:

    Fucking right on Hillary, Flint, Michigan, Thank you Hillary. YES, YES, Yes.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Governor Snyder needs to be forced to drink the water that he forced upon the people in Flint. That should be his punishment, then he should resign from office, he’ll have to because his brain won’t be working..

  58. roofingbird says:

    End notes. Clintion is outraged by Flint.

  59. roofingbird says:

    Sander’s demanded resignation. O Bernie more corruption Super Pacs, C United.

  60. Fannie says:

    No contest, Hillary won. By the way, Lester Holt, give him a pat on back, he tried to keep it somewhat on topic.

  61. Fannie says:

    Great being with all you sky dancers tonight……..special thanks to you all.

  62. roofingbird says:

    I suspect that women like Mitchell are still forced to present this kind of issue. “The woman’s viewpoint, if you will.” Imagine if Holt had asked about Bill’s issues. It’s some twisted male idea that women at home are represented this way.

  63. bostonboomer says:

    Did you notice how for the second half of the debate, Bernie just kept “me tooing” everything Hillary said? That’s the same thing Obama did in 2008.

  64. bostonboomer says:

    There wasn’t a single question on women’s health and reproductive autonomy, was there?

  65. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s the breakdown of speaking times so far at the #DemDebate:

    Clinton 25:34
    Sanders 27:23
    O’Malley 11:52

  66. RalphB says:

    What great comments! She wiped the floor with the one trick pony or “my state” ponies..

  67. NW Luna says:

    Just now catching up … thanks, all, for the commentary!

    Bernie’s Health Care “Plan” is worrisome, and definitely not Medicare for All. Hoping the states do a good job of running that is asinine. And no way can we count on employers to do the right thing and pass along that extra $$ to their employees. Sanders is very naive.