The 7 Most Honest Moments From The Democratic Presidential Debate

Where did they tell the truth?

Last night's Democratic debate featured five presidential candidates, three of whom were vying to catch up to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the polls.

As with all presidential debates, several candidates were evasive about questions and sometimes gave non-answers or outright lied. Just like we did after the Republican debate, here is a look at 7 instances where the candidates actually hit the nail on the head. 


1. Bernie Sanders on income inequality.

The Senator from Vermont went back to income inequality several times during the debate, but one quote in particular summed up a large issue he has.

"Millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and yet almost all the new income and wealth being created is going to the top 1 percent," he said.

He's right and Americans know it. In 2013, Pew Research showed that "more than half (61 percent) of Americans said the U.S. economic system favors the wealthy." And it's right: the top .1 percent of America owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. 

2. Martin O'Malley on tackling climate change.

Of all the candidates on stage, O'Malley seemed to go the furthest on climate change. While Sanders listed it as the greatest national security threat to America, O'Malley said he was the "only candidate who would move to a clean electric grid by 2050," which has been a big part of his presidential campaign. 

That kind of progressive push should sit well with the American populace, where 69 percent of people say that climate change very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem. 

3. Hillary Clinton on gun control.

Clinton had perhaps the most powerful stance of the debate when she attacked Sanders on his gun control laws, answering "no" without hesitation when asked if he was tough on guns and then citing the statistic that 90 people a day are killed by gun violence.

"Senator Sanders did vote five times against the Brady Bill," Clinton said. "Since it was passed, more than 2 million prohibited purchases have been prevented. He also did vote, as he said, for this immunity provision. I voted against it. I was in the Senate at the same time. It wasn't that complicated to me."

4. Jim Webb on "the power of the financial sector."

Webb mentioned that Americans all need to come to terms with the power our financial sector has over not just Wall Street, but campaigning in general. 

"If we look at the facts in terms of how we're going to deal with this, since that crash, in the last 10 years, the amount of the world's capital economy that Wall Street manages has gone from 44 percent to 55 percent," Webb said. "That means the Wall Street money managers are not risking themselves as the same way the American people are when they're going to get their compensation."

Later, he also took a shot at the massive amounts of money involved in campaign financing. 

"People are disgusted with the way that money has corrupted our political process, intimidating incumbents and empowering Wall Street every day," Webb said.

5. Chafee on the Republican party "leaving him."

Lincoln Chafee had — perhaps — the bumpiest night of all the candidates. People were thrown when he essentially admitted he put a vote in without knowing what he was voting for during his early tenure in office.

But, Chafee did break the ice about one thing that wasn't really discussed otherwise: the evolution and polarization of the parties. It came after debate moderator Anderson Cooper grilled Chafee on being "everything but a socialist."

"When you were senator from Rhode Island, you were a Republican," Cooper said. "When you were elected governor, you were an independent. You've only been a Democrat for little more than two years. Why should Democratic voters trust you won't change again?

Chafee, though, had a good response: "The party left me. There's no doubt about that. There was no room for a liberal moderate Republican in that party. I even had a primary for my reelection in 2006. I won it. But the money poured in to defeat me in Rhode Island as a Republican. That's what we were up against."

And he's right — the Republican party has gone further to the right over the last few years and, generally speaking, there is a greater political divide now than there ever has been

6. Sanders on voter turnout.

One of the biggest issues in our country's electoral system is voter turnout and Sanders was the only one to mention it. 

"Well, first of all, let's look at the facts," Sanders said. "The facts that are very simple. Republicans win when there is a low voter turnout and that is what happened last November. Sixty-three percent of the American people didn't vote, Anderson. Eighty percent of young people didn't vote. We are bringing out huge turnouts and creating excitement all over this country. Democrats at the White House on down will win, when there is excitement and a large voter turnout, and that is what this campaign is doing."

As we've reported on before, voter turnout in the United States is one of the lowest amongst developed countries. 

7. Clinton on her emails and Benghazi.

Last week, President Obama agreed that Clinton's email scandal was a "legitimate issue." It seemed that Clinton finally agreed, although she did mount a strong defense about the nature of the investigation and the amount of time and money being spent on it. 

"It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican Majority Leader Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers," Clinton said. "This committee has spent $4.5 million of taxpayer money and they said that they were trying to figure out what we could do better to protect our diplomats so that something like Benghazi wouldn't happen again. There were already seven committee reports about what to do. So I think it's pretty clear what their obvious goal is."

McCarthy, who stepped out of the race for House speaker after what seemed like an admission, has been criticized heavily by others in the Republican party. 


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