9 Biggest Moments From Democratic Debate: Clinton and Sanders ‘Hispander’ to Latino Voters

Democratic presidential hopefuls face off in Miami just days before Florida primary voters heads to the polls

Last Updated: March 9, 2016 @ 8:27 PM

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off for their fourth one-on-one presidential debate in Miami — just one day after Sanders won a key victory in Michigan.

It was by all means a tame debate, without the fireworks that dominated their last match-up last week.

The debate, sponsored by the Washington Post and Univision, was moderated by Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post and the Spanish-language network’s Maria Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos.

Clinton and Sanders sparred over who is the best candidate on immigration, at time “Hispandering” — as moderator Salinas called it — to Latino voters.

The showdown comes less than a week before the Democratic primaries in the crucial states of Florida, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina.

Here are TheWrap’s top 9 moments from the debate:

1. Clinton swats questions about her email server
Clinton was asked about classification of emails on her private server as Secretary of State. She called it a case of “over classification.”

“I’m not concerned about it. I’m not worried about it,” she said.

Pressed on whether she would drop out if indicted, Clinton swiftly dismissed the question.

“I’m not even going to answer that question,” she replied.

2.  Clinton and Sanders pile on Donald Trump
Tumulty asked Clinton straight out: Is Donald Trump a racist?

Clinton avoided answering directly, instead calling Trump’s controversial comments on immigration “un-American,” adding that voters can draw their own conclusions.

“You’re not gonna make America great by getting rid of everything that made it great,” she said.

Asked the same question, Sanders said that “the American people are never going to elect a president who insults Mexicans, who insults Muslims, who insults women, who insults African-Americans.”

Clinton also took the opportunity to show off her Spanish, saying she was the first to call out Trump adding, “basta” — which means “enough” in Spanish.

3. Clinton is asked whether she’s “Hispandering” to Latino voters
Clinton was asked by Salinas about a comment she made during a 2003 radio interview, where she said she was against illegal immigrants, and urged people “to stop employing illegal immigrants.”

“Your new immigration plan is that you would expand President Obama’s executive actions and that you would push for legislation that would include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Salinas asked. “So, are you flip-flopping on this issue? Or are you pandering to Latinos, what some would call Hispandering?”

“I am staunchly in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and have been so over the course of my public career,” Clinton said.

4. Sanders and Clinton spar over immigration
Predictably, immigration took center stage during the Miami debate.

Sanders slammed Clinton for saying during the 2014 migrant border crisis that migrants should be sent back to Central America.

Clinton said she was concerned about immigrants’ safety as they made the dangerous journey into the country. Clinton then hit Sanders for voting against efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2007.

“Just think, imagine where we would be today if we had achieved comprehensive immigration reform nine years ago,” Clinton said.

5. Clinton vows not to deport children
Ramos asked Clinton: “Can you promise tonight that you won’t deport children, and that you won’t deport immigrants without a criminal record?”

“Of the people living in our country, I do not want to see them deported, I want to see them on a path to citizenship,” Clinton answered.

Ramos then pressed Clinton to give a simple yes-or-no answer.

Clinton gave him three.

“I will not.”

6. Clinton mocks Trump’s “beautiful, tall wall.”
“He’s talking about a very tall wall, right? Clinton said, mocking Trump’s plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico. “A beautiful, tall wall… The most beautiful, tall wall … it’s just fantasy.”

The line got a laugh from the audience.

Sanders agreed: “Look, in this country, immigration reform is a very hot debate,” Sanders said. “But I would hope … that as we have that debate we do not, as Donald Trump and others have done, resort to racism and xenophobia and bigotry”

7. Clinton’s moment of honesty
Clinton was asked about polls showing she some voters doubt her honesty and trustworthiness.

Clinton answered simply: “I’m not a natural politician,” adding that she’s not as good at campaigning as her husband or President Obama.

She said she makes up for it by working hard.

8. Ramos booed for bringing up Benghazi
Ramos’ voice could barely be heard as the crowd booed his question about Benghazi.

Ramos asked Clinton if she lied to family members of the four Americans who were killed in a terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Libya.

Clinton said Republicans are politicizing the issue.

“I testified for eleven hours, anybody that watched that and listened to it know that I have answered that question,” Clinton said.

9. The debate is proving to be a challenge for reporters looking for an angle … which in journalism speak means “boring”


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