Democratic debate: Sanders apologizes to Clinton for data breach

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders apologized to Hillary Clinton and his own supporters Saturday for a breach of her campaign's valuable voter data, seeking to put the controversy to rest in a debate that quickly moved on to national security concerns and Americans' heightened fear of terrorism.

See Full Article

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who kept an eye on the general election, was also sharply critical of Donald Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States, calling the leader of the Republican race the Islamic State's "best recruiter."

"Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people," said Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state.

Clinton and Sanders, her closest challenger, entered Saturday night's debate in the midst of one of their fiercest fights -- about the campaign itself rather than a national or international issue. Clinton's campaign accused Sanders' team of stealing information used to target voters and anticipate what issues might motivate them. In response to the breach, the Democratic National Committee temporarily cut off Sanders' team's access to its own data, a move the Vermont senator said Saturday was an "egregious act."

Still, Sanders said his staff had acted improperly.

"This is not the type of campaign that we run," he said. Sanders' campaign fired a worker involved in the breach but also used the controversy to raise money, sending an email to supporters that said the national party had placed "its thumb on the scales in support of Hillary Clinton's campaign."

Clinton quickly accepted the apology, saying "We should move on because I don't think the American people are interested in this."

The debate, the third for Democrats, was expected to have low viewership given that it was scheduled on the last weekend before Christmas, when many Americans have turned their attention to the holidays. It came as Clinton had solidified her standing atop the field, shaking off a rocky start and the controversy about her use of private email at the State Department.

Clinton and Sanders were joined on stage by former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has struggled to be a factor in the race. O'Malley was aggressive in seeking to play a role in the debate, repeatedly talking over moderators and accusing his rivals of having outdated views on foreign policy.

Clinton also defied moderators' efforts to cut her off, leading Sanders to call out, "Now this is getting to be fun."

While there was broad agreement among the Democratic contenders that the U.S. should not launch a ground war to defeat the Islamic State, they differed in the tactics they would take and whether the U.S. should seek regime change in Syria, where IS has a stronghold.

Clinton recommended more direct action than her competitors, calling for a no-fly zone over part of Syria and insisting that the U.S. must seek to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

"If the United States does not lead, there is not another leader -- there is a vacuum," she said.

Sanders disagreed, saying the U.S. should first seek to defeat the Islamic State, calling Assad a "secondary issue" that should be dealt with over the course of years.

"Yeah, regime change is easy, getting rid of dictators is easy, but you have to think about what happens the day after," he said.

All three candidates stressed working more closely with Muslim-American communities to tackle radicalism at home -- a sharp difference from the rhetoric of some Republican candidates. Returning to her focus on Trump, Clinton said, "If you're going to put together a coalition in the region to take on the threat of ISIS, you don't want to alienate the very countries you need to be part of the coalition."

Sanders sought to stand out on foreign policy by noting that he voted against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, an unpopular war Clinton supported. He said he does not support any "unilateral military action" but rather a coalition in which the U.S. works hand in hand with Muslim nations to fight the radical militant group.

Saturday's debate was the first for Democrats since the shooting in San Bernardino, California, where 14 people were killed by a married couple that authorities say had been radicalized. The incident, as well as earlier attacks in Paris, pushed national security to the forefront of the 2016 White House race.

The foreign policy focus has blunted Sanders' momentum in the Democratic race. The senator has deeply loyal supporters who are drawn to his economic- and inequality-focused campaign, but he's far less comfortable discussing foreign policy issues.

Sanders sought to refocus on his core message of levelling the economy playing field for middle class Americans, casting himself as an enemy of Wall Street and big financial institutions. Asked whether corporate America would love a Sanders presidency, he said simply, "No, I think they won't."

Sanders and O'Malley have suggested Clinton is too cozy with Wall Street and is running a campaign funded by wealthy executives, charges she has rejected. When asked by moderators whether corporate America should love her, she quipped, "Everybody should."

------

Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Vivian Salama, Ken Thomas, Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Verdict expected in inquest into Ontario firefighter deaths

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - A verdict is expected today in a coroner's inquest looking into the deaths of two Ontario men during firefighter training exercises. Adam Brunt, a firefighting student, and Gary Kendall, a veteran volunteer firefighter, died five years apart during ice rescue courses involving the same training company. Source
  • NATO members wait to hear where Trump stands on alliance's existence

    World News CBC News
    The new headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — a massive, state-of-the-art facility that cost more than a billion euros to build — was designed to help the military alliance step boldly into the future. Source
  • Soldliers flow into besieged Philippine city in effort to restore control

    World News CTV News
    MARAWI, Philippines -- Army tanks packed with soldiers have rolled into a southern Philippine city to try to restore control after militants linked to Islamic State group launched a violent siege. Thousands of civilians have been fleeing the city of some 200,000 people. Source
  • Soldiers flow into besieged Philippine city in effort to restore control

    World News CTV News
    MARAWI, Philippines - Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into a southern Philippine city Thursday to try to restore control after ISIS-linked militants launched a violent siege that sent thousands of people fleeing for their lives and raised fears of extremists gaining traction in the country. Source
  • Police make 2 more arrests over Manchester bombing

    World News CBC News
    Police have arrested two more people and are searching a new site in Manchester, U.K., suspected of links to the bombing that killed 22 people at a pop concert. Greater Manchester Police say two men were arrested overnight in Manchester and in the Withington area in the south of the city. Source
  • Firefighters fighting 6 alarm blaze at Toronto recycling facility

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Firefighters were battling a large blaze at a recycling facility near Toronto's waterfront early Thursday. There was no word of any injuries in the six-alarm blaze (at Cherry St. and Commissioners St. Source
  • Firefighters battling large blaze at Toronto recycling facility

    Canada News CBC News
    Firefighters were battling a large blaze at a recycling facility near Toronto's waterfront early Thursday. There was no word of any injuries in the six-alarm blaze at Cherry Street and Commissioners Street. GFL fire in Toronto now a 5 Alarm blaze. Source
  • Soldiers roll into Philippine city besieged by ISIS-linked militants

    World News CBC News
    Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into a southern Philippine city Thursday as gunfire and explosions rang out after militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group torched buildings, seized more than a dozen Catholic hostages and raised their black flag. Source
  • Trump set to meet with concerned NATO, EU leaders

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS - Visiting a city he once called a "hellhole" to meet with the leaders of an alliance he threatened to abandon, U.S. President Donald Trump will be in the heart of Europe on Thursday to address a continent still reeling from his election and anxious about his support. Source
  • Reporter alleges Montana Republican hopeful body-slammed him

    World News CTV News
    BOZEMAN, Mont. - Witnesses said the Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat body-slammed a reporter Wednesday, the day before the polls close in the nationally watched special election. Greg Gianforte was in a private office preparing for an interview with Fox News when Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs came in without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said. Source