By William McDonald
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and a trailing Martin O’Malley sparred in Charleston, South Carolina Sunday over the highly contested topics of gun control and health care, issues where each candidate defended their progressive agendas while criticizing the NRA and embracing Obamacare.
All eyes were on exchanges between Clinton and Sanders, who have roasted the other since the last debate in December over gun measures which has been pushed by President Obama in his announced executive actions.
Clinton, in one of her more aggressive assertions against Sanders on a national stage, rattled off a laundry list of his support for the largest gun companies in the US, including “vot[ing] against the Brady Bill five times.
“He voted for what we call the Charleston Loophole,” Clinton said. “He voted for immunity for gun makers and sellers, which the NRA said was the most important piece of gun legislation in 20 years and he voted to let guns go on to Amtrak, go into national parks. He voted against doing research to figure out how we can save lives.”
Sanders shot back that Clinton was being “disingenuous” during the Sunday night debate, proudly waving his “D-” rating from the NRA to prove to the audience his efforts in curbing gun lobbying influence.
Both candidates embraced Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s largest and most reaching domestic policy initiative. Just hours before the debate, Sanders released a health care plan in which Clinton accused her opponent of looking to start the healthcare debate over, legislation Clinton claimed she would continue to build. Sanders shot back that Clinton was “absolutely inaccurate” and that his plan would only pursue an new policy of single payer.
O’Malley had difficulty cementing his tone on the stage among the two other heavyweights. Clinton nor Sanders didn’t show much concern over his threes-a-crowd presence.
While Clinton, over the coming days, will likely walk away the winner of the final debate before the first primaries, Sanders has kept the former Secretary of State on the defense while rising in the polls.
Sanders has a strong grassroots campaign but Clinton is grabbing more endorsements from major individuals and organizations. Both candidates hold a winning deck going into the first primary voting states on February 1st along side their Republican rivalries.