Democratic primary debate hosted at UW-Milwaukee

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By Kimberly Wethal

Feb. 11, 2016

 

Just days after the New Hampshire caucus, the two remaining Democratic candidates held their sixth presidential primary debate in the heart of the midwest.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) discussed their differences on education and healthcare reform, foreign policy and race relations on the stage of the Helen Bader Concert Hall on UW-Milwaukee’s campus on Thursday, Feb. 11.

The debate was hosted and moderated by PBS NewsHour. CNN and Facebook partnered with public television network to hold the debate.

Clinton and Sanders did agree on certain aspects during the debate: the economy is rigged for those at the top.

“We shouldn’t be letting Wall Street be destroying Main Street,” Clinton said. “Here in Wisconsin, we’ve got to stand up for working people and unions.”

They also agreed on the idea of making college more affordable for those enrolled in and graduated from college.

“A 100, 150 years ago incredibly brave Americans said, you know what, working class kids, low income kids should not have to work in factories or on the farms,” Sanders said. “Like rich kids, they deserve to get a free education. That should be a right of all Americans regardless of the income of their families.”

Clinton then referenced Gov. Scott Walker as she talked about Sanders’ education plan, which would require states to chip in to pay the expenses associated with free tuition.

“Senator Sanders’s plan really rests on making sure that governors like Scott Walker contribute $23 billion on the first day to make college free,” Clinton said. “ I am a little skeptical about your governor actually caring enough about higher education to make any kind of commitment like that.”

The debate’s tensest moment occurred when Sanders said Clinton would not be as tough on  Wall Street, because of her super PAC and her contributions from financial institutions.

“Let’s not insult the intelligence of the American people,” Sanders said. “People are not dumb.”

Sanders also took advantage of a tense moment when discussing his plan to repair the country’s infrastructure to remind her, “Secretary Clinton, you’re not in the White House yet.”

Numerous students at UW-M showed their discontent with the way the university distributed tickets to the debate, the lack of a union for student workers on campus as well as the treatment of College Republicans on campus before the debate.

Senior Oliver Edward stood outside the press filing room in the student union holding a sign stating, “Cancelled my classes but thanks for the 25 student tickets for a 30,000 student campus.”

UW-M had held a raffle for the student tickets via email.

“It’s a slap in the face,” Edward said.