Cuba. Immigration. Education. Climate change and of course, Donald Trump, were among the points of contention between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during the National Democratic Presidential Debate on March 9 at the Kendall Campus gymnasium.
Hundreds of spectators watched as Clinton and Sanders sparred in the eighth Democratic debate. It aired in Spanish on Univision and in English on CNN.
The contentious debate came just one day after the Vermont senator defeated Clinton in Michigan and less than a week before a number of important primary contests taking place.
Snippets of the candidates feisty diatribe included:
“We need a political revolution in this country,” Sanders said.
Clinton: “You don’t make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great.”
One of the more tense moments in the debate came when Clinton was asked about the classification of emails on her private server as Secretary of State. She called it a case of “over classification” and “retroactive classification.” “I’m not concerned about it. I’m not worried about it,” she said. When asked if she would drop out the presidential race if she was indicted, Clinton immediately dismissed the question. “I’m not even going to answer that question,” she retorted.
Another hot topic was immigration. Sanders and Clinton’s opening statements both discussed immigration reform. Clinton pledged her commitment to Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She promised comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship within the first 100 days of presidency if she is elected president.
Sanders said that “Establishing an immigration policy that stops the criminalization of communities of color and keeps families together will be a top priority of my administration.”
Clinton and Sanders both agreed not to deport children,
“One of the parts that stood out to me was the immigration reform,” said Homestead Campus student, Armando Garcia. “It is a very strong topic and the way they handled it was very sincere.”
One of the few things Clinton and Sanders agreed on was Trump.
The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty asked Clinton flat-out: Is Donald Trump a racist? Clinton didn’t give a yes or no answer, but called the GOP front-runner’s rhetoric “un-American.” She also used the debate, hosted by Univision, to say “basta” — or enough — to Trump, a phrase she has employed in at least one previous debate.
Meanwhile, Sanders said “the American people are never going to elect a president who insults Mexicans, who insults Muslims, who insults women, who insults African-Americans.”
Fittingly, while the debate was held at the largest college in the country—Miami Dade College—another topic of prominence was education.
“I want every kid to know if you do your school work, study hard, yes, you will be able to get a college education,” Sanders said.
Hillary promised to “refinance everyone’s existing students debt. Forty million Americans have student debt.”
Despite all of the back and forth during the debate, some issues went unresolved.
“I feel like some of the questions were left unanswered, like they just gave a general answer but I mean, they just gave general opinion but they didn’t go in-depth,” said Cinthia Montes, the student government association president at Medical Campus. “I still need to get more information and see who I’m going for.”
Voters will decide who got the best of who on March 15, when they cast their votes at the Florida Democratic Presidential Primary.
Staff writers Daniela Molina, Maria Vizcaino and Zahyra Rodriguez contributed to this report.