Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders sparred in New Hampshire debate

Fact-checking the Democratic debate

 (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton cast the financial industry as an adversary in her presidential campaign — despite the money that that industry has poured into her White House effort. Bernie Sanders once again mischaracterized the share of the wealth taken by the very richest Americans.

A look at some of the claims in their latest Democratic presidential debate.

Labels, smears and other takeaways from the Democratic debate

 (David Goldman / Associated Press)
(David Goldman / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State, and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator, held their first one-on-one debate Thursday, and the last one before the New Hampshire Democratic primary next week.

Sanders has a large lead in New Hampshire, but Clinton remains the national front-runner, leaving both sides eager to win over new voters.

Here are a few things we noticed:

Wall Street exchange between Clinton and Sanders is biggest moment on Twitter

Support for death penalty declining, but still a majority

Sen. Bernie Sanders' declaration that he opposes the death penalty in all circumstances puts him in a growing, but still minority, part of the U.S. population.

The recent peak in support for capital punishment came in the mid-1990s, as the public reacted to the sharp increase in crime during the 1970s and 1980s. During Bill Clinton's presidency, roughly 8 in 10 Americans supported the death penalty, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Violent crime began to decline in the 1990s, and a few years later support for capital punishment began to fall as well. At this point, a bare majority, 56%, support the death penalty, compared with 38% who oppose it.

Most of that decline has come among Democrats. For the last decade, support for the death penalty has fallen below a majority of self-identified Democrats.

Currently, about 40% of Democrats share the view of Hillary Clinton that the death penalty is justified at least some of the time. But 56% share Sanders' opposition to it in all cases.

What climate change?

Sanders, Clinton talk death penalty

Which one is best to win a general election?

Two different candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, see two different paths to winning a general election.

For Sanders, whose ability to win a general election has been questioned, it's all about rousing the base with enthusiasm to turn out.

"Democrats win when there is a large voter turnout, when people are excited," he said. "Our campaign, up to now, has shown that we can create an enormous amount of enthusiasm from working people, from young people, who will get involved in the political process."

In many ways, the Sanders strategy is similar to that of Ted Cruz on the Republican side, whose campaign has studied the grass-roots strategy of President Obama's former campaign manager, David Plouffe, in trying to expand the electorate.

Clinton, meanwhile, believes passion pales next to experience and the ability to withstand "the spotlight."

"I've been vetted -- there's hardly anything you don't know about me," she said, warning that the eventual nominee "will face the most withering onslaught."

"It's not so much electability," she added. "It is who the American people believe can keep them safe, can get the economy moving again." 

Hillary Clinton will leave N.H. and visit Flint, Mich.

About those Iowa caucus results? Sanders supports a recount

Hillary Clinton won by the slightest of margins in Monday's Iowa caucuses, and Bernie Sanders wants an audit of the results. 

Sanders, who lost to Clinton 49.9% to 49.6%, said Thursday night he agrees with a Des Moines Register editorial calling for a complete audit of the results. 

"At the end of of the day, no matter how it's recounted it will break even," Sanders said of the results. "I think we need improvements by which results are determined." 

Some rural precincts in the caucuses were decided by a coin flip. 

So what did Clinton think about a recount?

"Whatever they decide to do, that's fine," she said grinning. 

Can Hillary Clinton attract young voters?

Hillary Clinton campaigns in Derry, N.H. (Matt Rourke)
Hillary Clinton campaigns in Derry, N.H. (Matt Rourke)

It's one of the starker facts to emerge from the Iowa caucus: Young people are not on Hillary Clinton's side.

On Thursday, Clinton acknowledged that she was impressed by Bernie Sanders' draw.

“I personally am thrilled at the number of people – particularly young people – who are coming to support [Sanders'] campaign. I hope that I will be able to earn their support. They may not support me now, but I support them."

In the recent Iowa caucus, among 17- to 29-year-olds, a whopping 84% caucused for Bernie Sanders.

Clinton picked up just 14%, according to entrance polling conducted for a consortium of news outlets.

The generational divide narrowed a tad among those aged 30 to 44, with 58% going for Sanders and 37% for Clinton.

As The Times' Evan Halper explained, many theories explain the age gap: Younger voters can be more idealistic, appreciating the 74-year-old Sanders' vision to the former secretary of State's pragmatism.

In Iowa, voters didn't flip to Clinton until age 45, when 58% of 45- to 64-year-olds preferred her, compared with 35% for Sanders.

Among those 65 and older, 69% went for Clinton, and 26% for Sanders.

How serious is Clinton's email problem?

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in The Hague in 2011. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in The Hague in 2011. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account when she served as secretary of State and recent disclosures that some of the material that passed through her server was later classified as "top secret" continue to dog her campaign.

With Republicans repeatedly saying the scandal should disqualify her from the White House and even result in her prosecution, it's little surprise the issue came up Thursday.

She dismissed the scandal as a "political ploy" and "an absurdity."

She also noted that earlier in the day NBC reported that classified information was also sent to the personal email accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The Times' David Savage looked into Clinton's legal vulnerability and found that criminal charges may not be in the cards. Check out his story here:

Clinton and Sanders vow to protect VA from privatization

Clinton on familiar ground

Clinton boasts of her record under Obama

 (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton again noted that after running hard against then-Sen. Obama in 2008, he turned to her to become his secretary of State.

Both Clinton and Sanders have worked to reach out of Obama supporters.

Obama recently characterized the Democratic primary as a choice between Hillary Clinton, a “good, smart, tough” person, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a “bright, shiny” new alternative.

Though he has not formally endorsed either candidate, Obama's willingness to step personally into 2016 politics during a recent interview revealed how deeply he believes Clinton is the candidate best suited to build on his achievements.

But after a White House meeting last week, Sanders said he did not think the president was trying to tilt the scales.

Foreign policy brings up votes from the past, but few differences today

With no easy answers in the war against Islamic State, the Democrats are left with few differences on how to fight terrorists abroad.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders want American boots on the ground in Iraq or Syria. They prefer to continue President Obama's strategy of employing U.S. troops to advise coalitions of local fighters.

But the debate did offer the opportunity to revisit foreign policy history, with Sanders reiterating that he -- unlike Clinton -- voted in 2002 against the war in Iraq.

"A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS," Clinton said.

Sanders said: "One of us voted the right way and one of us didn't."


We did differ. A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS. We have to look at the threats we face right now.

Hillary Clinton, in response to Bernie Sanders castigating her 2002 vote in support of the Iraq war

Sanders and Greenspan: The video

Sen. Bernie Sanders asked debate viewers to go to YouTube and type in "Greenspan Sanders." 

So we did. 

We clicked on the top result, posted by Women for Bernie Sanders. It has 598,926 views.

It's from 2003. If you want a sense of how long ago that is, look how young Rahm Emanuel looks.

Here's the video, which has gone viral over the course of the campaign.

It shows Sanders, then a member of the House, scolding then-Fed Chairman Greenspan as he testified on Capitol Hill.

Clinton and Sanders battle over who is more progressive

 (David Goldman / AP)
(David Goldman / AP)

Hillary Clinton delivered a spirited rebuke to the charge Bernie Sanders has been making on the campaign trail that she is not a genuine progressive.

“I have heard Sen. Sanders’ comments, and it’s really caused me to wonder who is left in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party,” Clinton said. “Under his definition, President Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street.” 

She said Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t qualify because he supported the Keystone XL pipeline, and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, a revered liberal, also wouldn’t make the cut because he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.

Then she launched into parts of Sanders' record that could be seen as betrayals to progressivism.

“I don’t think it was particualrly progressive to vote against the Brady bill five times,” she said. “I don’t think it was progressive to vote to give gun makers and sellers immunity. I don’t think it was progressive to vote against Ted Kennedy's immigration reform.”

Sanders wouldn’t yield.

“Instead of arguing about definitions, let’s talk about what we should do,” he said. “I am very proud to be the only candidate up here that does not have a super PAC, that is not raising enormous amounts of money from Wall Street or the special interests.”

Sanders was pushed by moderator Chuck Todd on whether he thinks President Obama is a progressive.

“Yeah, I do,” Sanders said. “I disagree with him on a number of issues … [but] I think he has done an excellent job.”

Clinton says enough with 'smear' attacks against her

 (David Goldman / Associated Press)
(David Goldman / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton has had enough of Bernie Sanders' attacks on her ties to big money in politics and Wall Street.

"If you've got something to say, say it," Clinton said, saying his "innuendo" and "insinuation" was not worthy of him. "It's time to end this very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out."

Clinton said she has never shifted a vote or position because of campaign contributions.

"Enough is enough."

Sanders shot back with a long list of interests -- from Wall Street to drug and oil companies -- who lobby for their interests.

"There is a reason why these people are putting huge amounts of money into our political system," he said.