“The numbers just don’t add up…”
So said Hillary Clinton on Thursday, as she used a freshly scheduled MSNBC debate to tell New Hampshire Democrats—and, by extension, Democrats across the country—that the “political revolution” Bernie Sanders proposes is a fantasy rather than a serious vision for change.
Citing “independent experts” and “newspaper editorial boards,” the former secretary of state suggested that what Sanders plans “is just not achievable.”
In the first one-on-one debate of a campaign that will see its first primary on Tuesday, Clinton renewed her attack on Sanders’s proposal for a single-payer “Medicare for All” healthcare system. “The numbers just don’t add up, from what Senator Sanders has been proposing,” said the former secretary of state.
Sanders countered by arguing what Clinton claims is undoable has been done elsewhere—and can be done in America.
“Every major country on earth, whether it’s the UK, whether it’s France, whether it’s Canada, has managed to provide healthcare to all people as a right and they are spending significantly less per capita on healthcare than we are,” he said. “So I do not accept the belief that the United States of America can’t do that,” said the senator from Vermont. “I do not accept the belief that the United States of America and our government can’t stand up to the rip-offs of the pharmaceutical industry which charge us by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.”
That was how it went through the most combative Democratic debate yet in a campaign season that—because of the unexpected strength of an insurgent challenge to a front-runner whose candidacy was once considered “inevitable”—is now expected to see a lot more Democratic debates.
Sanders said he was running against the establishment and Clinton countered that “Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment.” Clinton suggested that she had a better track record of challenging financial abuses, and Sanders countered by recalling that he was the one who wrangled with former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan over deregulation of the financial-services industry. “Go to YouTube today. Look up Greenspan-Sanders. Listen to what I told them then. I helped lead the effort against deregulation. Unfortunately, we lost that. The result is—was the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.”