Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton cast herself as a realist during the April 14 CNN debate, while presenting her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as an idealist whose proposals could not be realized.
“Describing the problem is a lot easier than trying to solve it,” Clinton said more than once during the debate, reports The Washington Post.
She agreed with Sanders that health care coverage needs to be expanded and that the government should implement tuition-free public colleges, but said that when one makes a “proposal, and you’re running for president, you should be held accountable for whether the numbers add up."
Sanders chimed in on Clinton’s remark by stating, “public colleges and universities tuition-free? Damn right. That is exactly what we should be doing.”
While Clinton may have tried to paint Sanders' ideas as unrealistic, he used the debate to cast doubt on her judgment and credibility, CNN reports.
On the topic of Wall Street and big banks, Sanders was asked to give an example of a decision Clinton made while serving as a New York senator that showed she favored the banks.
Sanders said that when the “greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall Street” led to the financial crisis, he moved for the big banks to be broken up, while Clinton was “busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs.”
Clinton responded by stating he was unable to provide a direct answer because one does not exist, and claimed that she has spoken out against big banks.
"Oh my goodness, they must have been really crushed by this," Sanders said in response, asking Clinton whether she made such statements before or after "receiving huge sums" from the banks to give speeches.
The candidates attacks against one another throughout the debate on those topics and others, including gun control, climate change, the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the federal minimum wage, resulted in the Brooklyn Navy Yards crowd responding with cheering and jeering, depending on their feelings towards the statement given.
The New York primary will take place on April 19. An average of all state polls finds Clinton ahead of Sanders by roughly 14 points, according to Real Clear Politics.