tv The CNN Iowa Presidential Town Hall CNN January 25, 2016 6:00pm-8:01pm PST
you can't -- >> i've got to wrap. >> thank you, anderson. >> i've got to wrap you. we're about to start. thank you to the clinton campaign. thanks for watching. time to hand it over to my friend chris cuomo who is the moderator of tonight's democratic presidential town hall at drake university in des moines, iowa. chris? >> all right, thank you, anders anderson. weer here in iowa. the voters who are ready to question the three democratic candidates for president of the united states. >> tonight, the democratic candidates on one stage in iowa. >> help me make it happen. >> everybody ready to make a political revolution? >> the final forum before the first presidential votes, just one week away. >> are you excited about the future? >> hillary clinton, bernie sanders and martin o'malley taking tough questions from voters on the hottest issues within their party and across the heartland. >> i am not going to let the
republicans rip pupup obamacare. >> if a bank is too big to fail, it's too big to exist. >> we should make it hard for criminals to get guns and easy for all americans to vote. >> with iowa up for grabs, their differences are clearer, and mistakes are even higher. >> what we do not allow, donald trump and the others to divide us up. there is nothing, nothing that we cannot accomplish. >> this is a cnn democratic town hall event. a chance for iowa voters to drive the presidential debate with decision day around the corner. >> we're getting into that period before the caucus that i kind of call the let's get real period. >> iowans are choosing. the nation is watching. and candidates are trying to close the deal with voters right now. ♪
all right. we are live at drake university in des moines, iowa, to hear from the democratic presidential candidates and the people who matter most in this election. the voters. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. of course here in iowa, where we're being seen on our cnn affiliates across the state. we also want welcome our servicemen and women who are watching on the american forces network around the world. and to our listeners on the westwood one radio network and sirius xm channel 116. i'm chris cuomo. we really are thrilled to have you all with us. now there have been debates. there have been interviews. tonight, something different. a chance for the people who will decide to ask the questions themselves. as you know, the people of this state are the first in the nation to have a say on who will serve in the oval office.
they only have seven days left to make up their minds. in this hall tonight, iowa voters who plan to attend the democratic caucuses next monday night. they were invited by cnn and our partners, the iowa democratic party and drake university. audience members submitted questions to us. we have screened them to make sure they cover a variety of important issues and they do. however, the candidates do not know what the questions will be. many of the voters joining us tonight are undecided. some are leaning toward a particular candidate. now in a bit, we'll talk with governor martin o'malley and secretary hillary clinton, but first, please welcome senator bernie sanders of vermont. [ applause ] >> hi, chris. how are you? >> good to see you, senator.
busy day? >> yes. my wife told me to button my coat but i'm too fat, so -- >> i'll do the same then. i'll do the same. so do you remember when we first started talking about this election many months ago, you weren't sure that you wanted to run. you were not sure, you said, that there was an appetite in this country to discuss the problems between rich and poor. how surprised are you by #feeltheburn and all that has followed? >> chris, our message has resonated much faster, much further than i thought it would. and i think what the american people are perceiving is there is something very wrong in this country when ordinary americans are working longer hours for lower wages, when we have the
highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth and almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1%. and then on top of that, people see that that rigged economy is sustained by a corrupt -- and i use that word advisedly -- a corrupt campaign finance system that allows billionaires today to spend as much money as they want through superpacs to elect the candidates of their choice. and all over this country -- and it's not just democrats. it is conservatives. it is republicans that are saying that is not what america is supposed to be about. so if you are asking me, why is it that our campaign has created the kind of momentum that it has, i think we are touching a nerve with the american people who understand that establishment politics is just not good enough. we need bold changes. we need a political revolution. >> so you have centered -- [ applause ] you have centered your campaign on this idea of income
inequality. interestingly, president obama talking about the job just this morning says you do not have the luxury of focusing on just one thing when you are president of the united states. you have to be able to handle many different priorities. do you think you are up to the whole job? >> president obama is obviously right. being president is an enormously difficult job. it's a job that entails dealing with a million different issues. i think i have the background. i think i have the judgment to do that. i would remind you and remind the viewers that in 2002 when george w. bush and dick cheney said we should go to war in iraq, bernie sanders listened very carefully and i said no. i think that war is a dumb idea. i helped lead the opposition to that war. and if you go to my website, listen to what i said, and sadly enough, it gives me no joy, much much what i feared would happen,
did happen. i do believe i have the background for the job. >> well it is time for you to make the case. let's do it with the people that matter. the first question comes from jerry odie. she's an undecided voter. jerry? >> yes, senator, some of your detractors have called you a socialist on occasions. and you don't seem to troubled by that. and sometimes embrace it. i wonder if you can elaborate on that. and to show us the comfort level you have, your definition of it so it doesn't concern the rest of us citizens. >> what democratic socialism means, to me, is that economic rights, the right for economic security is -- should exist in the united states of america. it means to me that there's something wrong when we have millions of senior citizens today trying to get by on $11,000, $12,000 a year, social security. it means there's something wrong when the rich get richer and almost everybody else gets poorer. it means there is something
wrong, and government should play a role in making sure that all of our kids, regardless of their income, are able to get a higher education. which is why i'm calling for free tuition at public colleges and universities. and why we have to deal with this horrendous level of student debt that people are having. now what's going on in countries around the world, in scandinavia, and in germany, the ideas that i am talking about are not radical ideas. so what democratic socialism means to me in its essence is that we cannot continue to have a government dominated by the billionaire class and a congress that continues to work for the interest of the people on top while ignoring working families. what this campaign is about and what i believe in is creating a government that works for all of us, not just a handful of people on the top. that's my definition of democratic socialism.
>> next question, rene seagram. she's a nurse. she's undecided. she sees how health care plays out every day. she has a concern for you. >> senator sanders, you have branded your program, your single payer health program as medicare for all. and medicare has a reputation of having some problems. let me cite one example. a man in our clinic went in to the doughnut hole in september and could not afford the $1,200 a month it would cost him for insulin. so he had to decrease his dose to make its insulin stretch. so what do you -- why do you think that people would support your medicare for all program? >> well, i think people will support my medicare for all program because the united states today is the only major country on earth that doesn't
guarantee health care to all people as a right. now i'm on the committee that wrote the affordable care act, and i think the affordable care act has done a lot of good things. but, yes, we have 29 million people without any health insurance. your point is there are seniors today, and i meet them every day, who cannot afford the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs because in america, everybody should know this. we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. last year, while 1 out of 5 americans cannot afford the prescriptions their doctors write, last year the three major drug companies made $45 billion in profit because they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions. so i believe we should join the rest of the world. i believe as a principle, everybody should be entitled to health care as a right, comprehensive health care. and by the way, if we move
toward a medicare for all, not only do we cover the needs of all people, including that gentleman, we will save middle class people thousands of dollars a year on their health care bills because now we pay, by far, per capita, much, much more than any other country on earth. it is time in my view, for us to have the courage to take on the insurance companies, take on the drug companies, and provide health care to all people at an affordable cost. >> the criticism is -- the criticism is to pay for this, what you are really asking for is one of the biggest tax hikes in history. and that is the criticism. >> but, chris, that's is an unfair criticism for the following reason. if you are paying now $10,000 a year to a private health insurance company, and i say to you hype theothethypotheticallyg to pay $5,000 more in taxes or
actually less than that, but you'll not pay any more private health insurance, are you going to be complaining about the fact that i've saved you $5,000 in your total bills? so to say you're paying more in taxes, let's also talk about we're going to eliminate private health insurance premiums and payments, not only for individuals, but for businesses as well. again, we are the only country on earth that allows private insurance companies to rip us off. we spend three times more than the british, 50% more than the french. we can do better than we're doing right now. >> but just to be clear, you are going to raise taxes to do this? >> yes. we will raise -- we will raise taxes. yes, we will. but also let us be clear, chris. because there's a little bit of disingenuity out there.
we may raise taxes, but we are also going to eliminate private health insurance premiums for individuals and for businesses. >> next question, shawn collison, law student at drake. says he's undecided. what do you? >> i think you've introduced a lot of programs that could help a lot of people. my question is, realistically, how do we fund those programs? where can we reallocate or cut spending on other programs. >> great question and a very fair question. i start off with the premise that in the last 30 years, although my republican friends don't like the term, there's been a massive redistribution of wealth in this country. it's gone from working families, trillions of dollars, to the top one-tenth of 1%. so, yes, what this campaign is about is to say to profitable corporations who in some years don't pay a nickel in taxes, to the wealthiest who sometimes
have an effective tax rate than truck drivers or nurses, yeah, you are going to start paying your fair share of taxes. now how am i going to pay to make certain that public colleges and universities are tuition-free and we substantially lower interest rates on student debt? i pay for that because we're going to ask wall street to pay a tax on speculation. we are also believing -- i believe that after the working families of this country bailed out wall street, maybe it's their time to help the middle class of this country. now i believe that we have an infrastructure that is crumbling. roads, bridges, rail, airports, levees, dams. we all know what's happening in flint, michigan. water systems, waste water plants. i believe that if we end this absurdity of allowing corporations who make billions
of dollars a year in profits to stash their money in the cayman islands, bermuda and other tax havens, we eliminate that, we're going to bring $100 billion into the treasury. that money goes into rebuilding our infrastructure, creating 13 million jobs in five years with a trillion-dollar investment. i have paid for all of our proposals. >> senator, the pushback becomes how you pay. in this room, you are preaching to the converted somewhat. presumptively democrats. but you'll hear people say that's your paying for it is punitive. you're going to punish people who make money. you're going to punish the financial district. you're going to punish and wind up changing the idea of an open and free economy because you're going to punish them for speculating, which means they won't speculate as much which means you won't get as much activity. and if you do a checklist of how you pay for everything, what you are doing is amassing the
biggest government ever after president clinton said the era of big government was over. seems like bernie sanders is saying not only is it over, i'mn to do it bigger than ever. >> we have to put what i am doing in context. here's the context. today in america, we have more income and wealth inequality than we've had since 1928. there has, chris, been a massive transfer of wealth. i'm talking about trillions of dollars, from the pockets of working families into the hands of the top 0.1%. that's a fact. so if you are telling me that at a time when wall street's recklessness, greed and illegal behavior brought this country to its knees, that i am going to say to them that they're going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes, fine. if that's the criticism, i accept it. i demand that wall street start paying its fair share of taxes. second of all --
>> n what about the idea that you are bringing back the era of big government and making it bigger than ever? >> again, i believe, you know, and iowa has played an interesting role in the fight for public education. and for 100-plus years, what's we have believed public education to be is up to the 12th grade. free public education up to the 12th grade. guess what? the world has changed. a college degree today is the equivalent of what a high school degree was 50 years ago. people want to criticize me, fine. i believe that every kid in this country who has the ability and the desire should be able to get a higher education, regardless of the income of his family. and i will pay for that through a tax on wall street speculation. >> they don't criticize the goal. they criticize the method of how you achieve that. is the era of big government back with president sanders? >> the era of protecting the middle class and working families is certainly something
that i will make happen. i believe, for example, that when my republican colleagues talk about cutting social security, i say when you living on $12,000 a year social security, no, we shouldn't cut it. we should expand social security, and we cut that by lifting the cap on taxable income. so, chris, this is what i think. this is what i think. when we live in a nation of so much income and wealth inequality, where the top 0.1% owns as much wealth as the bottom 90%, when the 20 wealthiest people own more wealth than the bottom half of america, that is not, to me, what the american economy should be about. so, yes, people want to criticize me, okay. i will take on the greed of corporate america and the greed of wall street and fight to protect the middle class. >> next question, rod edwards
says he's undecided. >> given the ongoing gridlock in washington and the continuing republican resistance toward president obama's initiatives, and the likelihood that republicans will win control over at least one house of congress, as president, what specifically will you do to overcome the resistance, cure the gridlock and garner the necessary support to implement your initiatives and actually get something done in washington? >> great question. let me answer it, if i might, in two ways. i am probably the most progressive member in the u.s. senate. but i have, over the years, not only in the senate, but in the house, worked with republicans when there was common ground. when i was in the house. in a number of years, i got more amendments passed on the floor of the house working with republicans than anybody else. number one and number two. in the senate just a couple of
years ago in a dysfunctional congress, i worked with people like john mccain. people like jeff miller over in the house to pass the most comprehensive veterans health care legislation in the modern history of the united states of america. i have worked with republicans when there is common ground throughout my career. but this is what i also want to say. in my view, you have a congress today that is much more worried about protecting the interest of the wealthy and the powerful and making sure they get campaign contributions from the wealthy and the powerful. if we are serious about rebuilding the american middle class, if we are serious about providing paid family and medical leave to all of our people, if we are serious about ending the disgrace of having so many of our children live in poverty, the real way to do it is to have millions of americans finally stand up and say, enough
is enough. for people to get engaged in the political process. to finally demand that washington represent all of us, not just a handful of very wealthy people. that's the way you bring about real change. >> next question, alexis coulash, drake university student, a bulldog, leaning in favor of hillary clinton, but she wants to explain why. >> give me a shot here, alexis. >> you named planned parenthood and the human rights campaign as part of the political establishment you plan to take on. how are you going to fight for women's rights, more effectively than a female candidate with endorsements from organizations like that. >> that's not quite acrats. i have a 100% pro-choice voting record. in every speech that i give, what i say is not only do we stop the republican efforts to try to defund planned parenthood, we should expand funding for planned parenthood.
now what i said, what i said on a television program, and i did not say it well, is that sometimes the base of an organization looks at the world a little bit differently than the leadership. so if you have 100% planned parenthood voting record, 100% pro-choice voting record, people are asking, why is the leadership not either supporting bernie sanders or why are they, you know, opposing him? and my point is that i will -- these are great organizations. i met with planned parenthood. they do a fantastic job, not only in defending women's rights in general, but talking about sexuality in america. they are a fantastic organization. count me in as someone who strongly supports them. so this was simply a question of endorsement policy, not whether or not i strongly support these
organizations. do i have your vote yet? >> correct she's saying as to the purpose of the question, not on whether you have her vote. >> i'm just kidding, but that is the difference. i support the organization. >> second aspect to your question. you said then the first female president. how do you think you'd be as helpful to women as a woman president would? what about that aspect? that's what hillary clinton represents on one level to voters, that's she would be the first female president, and there is something special in that when it comes to women's issues. >> of course, i understand that. but i think if you look at my record, in terms of fighting for women's rights, i think there are very few members of congress who have a stronger record. it's 100% lifetime that i've been there for a while. in addition to that, you know, there have -- as you know, women are making 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. that is nothing but old-fashioned sexism, and i am a strong advocate and will fight
for pay equity for women. i believe that -- and it's not only women, although it impacts women and women of color even greater, this level of pay inequality, inequity, is extraordinary. we're going to fight for pay equity, make sure that everybody earns the same amount for the same work. also, what we have got to do is people cannot make it on $8, $9, 10 bucks an hour. we've got to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. that will impact all people. it will impact women more than men as we raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. >> all right. so -- >> one more point. i'm trying to win her vote. leave me alone here. all right. hillary clinton and i have a disagreement on a very important issue that impacts everyone but especially women. i believe that we should expand
social security benefits by lifting the cap on taxable income. that will help millions of low-income seniors, especially women. ask hillary clinton if she's prepared to lift the cap on taxable income. >> all right, alexis. i want to put you a little bit on the spot. now that you heard the answer -- what do you think now? he looks like that even when he's happy, so don't worry about his particular reaction. so, after the answer, where are you? same place? open-minded? >> definitely means i'm going to have some hard thinking to do. but it reassures me, and it was a good plan to speak about. >> thank you very much. >> take progress where you find it. we'll give alexis some time to think. the rest of you as well. we have more questions for senator sanders and his final pitch to these iowa voters when we come back. stay with us.
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♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪ ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪ ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪ welcome back to the cnn democratic presidential town hall here at drake university in des moines, iowa. we're here with senator bernie sanders. we've been talking about the issues. you were working on a young woman there trying to get her vote. i have another woman. i think you have some work left
to do on. her name is secretary clinton. she has an ad out now. you both put out big ads. i know how you feel about
yours. let's look at secretary clinton's ad and get your take on it. >> the world a president has to grapple with. sometimes you can't even imagine. that's the job. and she's prepared for it like no other. a tireless secretary of state standing up against the abuse of women and girls. negotiating a cease-fire in gaza. leading the diplomacy that keeps us out of war. the presidency is the toughest job in the world, and she's the one leader who has what it takes to get every part of the job done. >> i'm hillary clinton, and i approve this message. >> the argument is, sure, bernie's got the heart, but i have the head. you have to be experienced, have to know what to do. is secretary clinton simply better prepared for the job than you, sir? don't leave. we have another 15 minutes.
>> this calls for a standing up response. let me shock everybody here. this is true. i have known hillary clinton for 25 years. you know what? i like hillary clinton, and i respect hillary clinton. and hillary clinton has the devoted her life to public service, and i have tried, as i hope you all know, not to run a negative campaign. not to be attacking every other day, to keep this discussion on a high level where we debate the issues facing this country. and by the way, with a few exceptions, we're doing a lot better than the republicans in that regard. but on the other hand, that's not a very high bar to reach, so -- all right. what is this. all right. what do i think? let me give you a couple of examples.
the truth is that the most significant vote and issue regarding foreign policy that we have seen in this country in modern history was the vote on the war in iraq. okay? that's the fact. i voted against the war in iraq, and if you go to my website, listen to the speech that i gave when i was in the house in 2002 saying, yeah, it's easy to get rifd rid of a dictator like saddam hussein but there will be a plitical vacuum. and it gives me no pleasure to tell you that much of what i feared happened. hillary clinton voted for the war in iraq. all right. in terms of wall street, i fought against deregulation. led the opposition to doing away with the glass/steagall legislation. unfortunately, my side lost. wall street became deregulated.
the rest is history. wall street has operated in a very significant way in a fraudulent way. and, obviously, their greed and recklessness helped destroy our economy and create the worst recession since the great depression. i led the effort against wall street deregulation. see where hillary clinton was on this issue. in terms of climate change, which everybody here knows and apparently everybody in the world knows except republican candidates for president, is one of the great environmental crises facing this nation. on day one, i said the keystone pipeline is a dumb idea. >> senator -- >> i think the balkan pipeline and pipelines in vermont and new hampshire are dumb. we've got to break our
dependence on fossil fuel. why did it take hillary clinton such a long toime before she cae into opposition to the keystone pipeline. trade policy. i've understood that our trade policies have cost us. nafta, cafta, millions of decent paying jobs. i didn't have to think hard about opposing the trans-pacific partnership. took hillary clinton a long time to come on board that. >> so -- >> in other words, yeah, i do think i have the background and the judgment to take this very, very difficult job of being president of the united states. >> one point of pushback. we are in the final stretch here. intensity gets higher in the final stretch like we are now. on january 19th, you were talking about hillary clinton's experience argument and referred to dick cheney. you said he had a lot of experience, too. now, referring to dick cheney
when talking about hillary clinton, not exactly the most high brow way to conduct the election. >> my only point was secretary clinton was secretary of state of this country for four years. that is a lot of experience. there's no debate about that. i was not secretary of state. but experience is important, but judgment is also important. and my own point was in talking about dick cheney, he had a lot of experience, too. his policies with regard to foreign affairs was an absolute disaster. so experience is important, but it is not the only thing. and i would urge people to check out my views on foreign policy, how we deal with isis, and i think they'll make a lot of sense to the people of iowa and the people of our country. >> lease get a question. carrie crawford says she's undecided. mother of three grown kids. what is your question? >> hello, senator sanders. in light of the recent mass
shootings, i'm interested to know how you are going to make inroads with the powerful gun lobby to establish more effective gun control legislation? and the second part of my question is, how will you support easier access to mental health care in clinics? >> good. excellent questions. now i have been attacked. in fact, this is an issue that hillary clinton has, you know, focused on, and that's politics, and that's fine. although some of you might recall that back in 2007 when she was running against barack obama, she also focused on that issue but thought that obama was too strong on gun issues. you may remember him referring to her as annie oakley. all right? today, hillary clinton is running a lot of advertisements on gun issues. interestingly enough, she's running most of them in new hampshire where she thinks it will work, not running so many of them in rural iowa.
you can form your own judgment as to why that is the case. but to answer your question, in 1988, i ran vermont's lone seat in the u.s. house of representatives. i ran as an independent against a democrat and republican. the gun lobby said vote for either the democrat or republican. don't vote for bernie sanders. this is 1988. because bernie thinks that we should not be selling mitary style assault weapons in the united states of america. back in 1988. i lost that election by three percentage points. i cannot tell you that that is the only reason, but i had the gun groups working against the back then. since then, i have supported instant background checks, the expansion of instant background checks because i believe our job, if we're going to end these horrific mass murders, or at least have some impact in lessening the occurrence of them, we have got to do our best
to make sure that guns do not get into the hands of people who should not have them. criminals, people with mental instability. i believe, as president obama does that we've got to deal with the gun show loophole. and that's what he's working on with his executive order. people should not be able to circumvent the instant background check through the gun show or through the internet. i believe that we should make a federal crime of the so-called straw man situation where people are buying guns legally, going through the instant background check and then selling them to criminals. >> address your shift on manufacturers and liability. tell them where you were 50 afi. >> i voted for the bill. the reason i voted for the bill, a bill which has a number of elements in it. among other things it has a section which says we should not
be selling ammunition which will pierce policeman's armor and protection. i think that's the right thing. and one that said we want to have safety locks for children on guns. that makes sense to me. it also had a provision in it which says the following, and people may disagree with me. this is my view. if you are a small gun shop in vermont and i legally sell you a weapon, okay, y go out, buy that gun legally and you go out and kill somebody. i think the gun shop owner should not be held liable for your criminal act. that's what i believe. now within that bill also, there was some onerous provisions. not good provisions. what happens if a gun manufacturer is selling a whole lot of guns into an area far more guns than that area can consume? and what happens if that gun owner, that gun manufacturer should know that those guns are going into criminal hands.
should that gun manufacturer be held liable? yes, he should. so i am willing now to look at that legislation, maintain what was good in it, get rid of what is bad in it. >> but isn't that having it both ways? either they have liability as a manufacturer or they don't. the first argument seems to make sense. why would they be exposed to liability. why having it both ways? >> if you are a small gun shop owner and sell someone a gun, legally, you don't do anything wrong. you sell guns. somebody buys the gun and goes out and kills somebody, do i think that gun shop owner should be held liable? i don't. >> what's the difference between selling one or selling 1,000. >> but here's the point. if a gun shop owner should know, why should somebody be buying 1,000 guns, somebody should be thinking that does not make a lot of sense. in that case, that gun shop owner or the gun manufacturer should be held liable.
okay? and that's the issue. now you're asking also about mental health. when i talk about health care for all, i absolutely include in that the fact that mental health should be treated as part of health care. should be available to all people. i get calls -- i have gotten calls in my office, and i'm sure other senators have as well. this is the call. somebody calls us up and says i'm very worried about my brother. i'm worried what he might do to himself or, to answer your question, to somebody else. he may be homicide ol. he may be suicidal. we have searched desperately to find health care -- mental health treatment for him. we cannot find mental health treatment which is affordable, which is accessible. in my view, we have got to move
in the direction of making sure that everybody in this country who has a mental health crisis gets health care when they need it, not two months from today. >> carrie, how do you feel about the answer? >> i like the answer. that's sufficient. thank you very much. >> have a seat, senator. i'm tired following you around there. >> you follow me around today, you'd be a lot more tired. >> "cnn today," your brother was on. gave a great interview. he said back in the day you were a great athlete. is that true, and what was the sport? i'm not saying i don't believe it to be true. is it true and what was the sport? >> you know families exaggerate a little bit. i was a very good athlete. i wouldn't say graduate. pretty good basketball player. my elementary school in brooklyn won the borough championship.
hardly worth mentioning, but we did, yes. and, yes, i did take third place in the new york city indoor one mile race. okay, well, you know, i -- i was a very good long-distance runner. not a great runner, but captain of my track team and won a number of cross-country meets and won a whole lot of races. good, very good, not great. >> now this is what they call a bait and switch. i don't really care about your athletic -- if you were elected president, you are 75 now. >> 74. >> 74 going on 75. you are close to 75. >> i'm going on 75. so are you. >> that's true. that's true. you would be the oldest person elected president. you have medical records.
you say you're going to release them. should you release them to be fair to the voters of iowa before they vote? >> where are they? on our table right now? all right. we will release them. that's my wife. yes, of course, we'll release them. >> before iowa? >> yeah, sure. and i am -- if there's wood here, i would knock on it. >> my head is close enough. >> i have been blessed with good health and good endurance, and there's nothing in the medical records that is going to surprise anybody and we'll get them out as soon as possible. >> thank you for claarifying that. something else your brother said. he got emotional. he was saying, boy, would our parents be proud of the success that bernie has had. you have to think about that as well. when you think about why you are doing this and what it means, what does it mean to you about what your parents would think if they saw you now? >> that they wouldn't believe it. we grew up -- my dad came from poland at the age of 17 without
a nickel in his pocket. couldn't speak english and never made a whole lot of money. my brother and i and mom and dad grew up in a 3 1/2-room rent-controlled apartment in brooklyn, new york. and we never had a whole lot of money. and if you ask me, chris, this would be so unimaginable, the fact that i'm a united states senator would have been really beyond anything that they would have thought possible. the fact that i am running for president of the united states, you know, i do think about it. and i think they are very proud, but it's certainly something that i don't think they ever believed would have happened. >> you got 30 seconds. tell the voters of iowa what you want them to know. >> look. hillary clinton is a very good person. martin o'malley is a decent guy. this is not a personal stuff. it just seems to me that the crises that we face as a country today -- and we didn't even get
into climate change to a significant degree -- inequality, poverty in america. an obscene and unfair campaign finance system. these problems are so serious that we have got to go beyond establishment politics and establishment economics. in my view, we need a political revolution where millions of people stand up and say, you know what? that great governent of ours belongs to all of us, not just the few. that's why i'm running for president. thank you. >> senator sanders, thank you for taking the opportunity. good luck to you in the iowa caucuses next week. all right. our thanks to senator sanders. coming up, hillary clinton and martin o'malley get their turns on stage. and our audience of iowa voters is ready with a new slate of questions. stay with us. [richard] at block, a thousand people win one thousand dollars.
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[ applause ] welcome back to the cnn democratic presidential town hall here at drake university in des moines, iowa. this is the last, best chance for the candidates to face iowa voters, and answer their questions directly before they caucus next monday. now, we've heard from senator sanders, in a bit secretary
clinton, but right now, the floor belongs to former maryland governor, martin o'malley. [ applause ] >> hey. chris, how are you? good to see you too, man. thanks. thanks. [ applause ] thanks a lot. >> have a seat. >> how are you feeling a week out? >> i'm excited. it's iowa caucus time, and chris, i've seen this before. once iowans get into that decision-making pocket, none of the pollsters back east can tell you how it's going to turn out. [ applause ] and i wish you could be out there with me. i have been campaigning the iowa caucus, i've been to over 120 events and getting up on the chair, doing town halls like this. and we're seeing larger and large earl crowds. and the beauty of the people of iowa is, they're not intimidated by polls. they're not intimidated by pundits, and they have this birthright, they feel, to upset
the apple cart. and with only three of us in this democratic primary, there's only one of us who can still upset the apple cart. come on now. >> the des moines register, they gave the nomination their endorsement to secretary clinton. okay. they give their endorsement to her. in it they talk about you are better suit z as cabinet secretary than as president. what do you want to say to iowans to prove that their biggest paper is wrong? >> well, this is what i have to say. look, i'm in this chris, to win this. i'm running for president of the united states. and the reason i'm running is this. our country is facing big challenges. and we have deep divisions in our country. and we need a candidate who can actually pull us together. who can heal these divisions, who can get things done. that's what ooifz done all my life. i'm not a divider. if i were, i would not have been able to accomplish the things we accomplish in a very troubled city or in our state through a recession. and that's what i believe the people of iowa are looking for. a president who will move us
forward. who will build on the good things that president obama has done, and actually take that job creation legacy and turn it into rie rising wages again for every american family. that's what we need. and we need new leadership to do that and break through the gridlock of washington. >> you mention president obama, he was speaking this morning about the election more deeply than in the past. he was don an analysis of secretary clinton and senator sanders. he described the senator as a fascination of people. i thought you were supposed to be the bright, shiny new object in this? what happened? >> i'm honored to be able to offer my candidacy in the company of secretary clinton and senator sanders. if you look at our democratic primary and the debates we've had, we're certainly doing a much better job to speaking to the goodness in our country than to fear, anger, and loathing in the other guys.
[ applause ] . >> are you ready to take your case to the people? let's take a question. she's originally from st. louis. her parents work in ferguson. she's undecided. what's your question for the governor? >> q & a time, am i allowed to sound? >> i'm not capable of doing q & a in iowa from a seat. >> it's fine. >> good evening. >> hi. >> your history as mayor of baltimore and governor of maryland show that you push for zero tolerance policing and felony punishments for low level drug offenders which affects the block population. how can you ensure racial equality when your history is not fighting structural racism? >> sure. well look, let's talk about this. in 1999, our city of baltimore had become the most violent, the most addicted, and the most abandoned city in america. and when very few other people
would step up who could bring us together and turn it around, i did. and that year, and for about the 12 years leading up to that point, we were burying over 300 young, poor, black men every single year. and yes, black lives matter, and i told the people of my city, look, we do not have to accept a reality of 24/7 drug dealer occupation over our poor neighborhood. when you call from a poor neighborhood for police service, they should respond the same way that they do in wealthier neighborhoods, black and white. there are a lot of things we got right. there were a lot of lives that we saved. i promise to improve how we police the police. we actually did start closing down open air drug markets, and in the course of my executive service, both as mayor and as a governor, i never stop searching for the things that work so we can do more of them to save and redeem lives, and the things that don't work so we can stop
doing them. sop we greatly increase drug treatment. we saved hundreds and hundreds of lives from overdose deaths. we started tracking discourtesy, excessive force. i drove down use of fatal police-to three of their four lowest years in baltimore hisry. >> and as governor, i restored voting rights to 52,000 people. i repealed, as a crime, a decriminalized the possession of marijuana. i banned the box on people who are implying for state employment, and -- [ applause ] and not the first time, not the second time, but the third time, by bringing people together, including a few republican votes, i made my state the first state south of the mason dixon line to repeal the death penalty in america. [ applause ]
so -- >> governor. >> it's hard to appreciate at the time, but, one true story, quickly, chris. >> all right. >> there is a family of seven people. a mom, dad, and five kids. who in east baltimore were fire-bombed in their sleep and killed by a drug dealer. and the reason, because they were picking up the phone and calling 911 and asking for relief for their kids from this sort of 24/7 drug dealer occupation. look, i think all of us have a responsibility, i know i feel a responsibility to constantly look for the things that work and the things that don't work. by the end of my time as governor, we driven down violent crime to a 30-year low, and we had also driven down our incarceration rate to a 20-year low. you can do both of them at the same time by doing good things at work. [ applause ] >> next question, dan, owns two
small businesses in des moines. he's learning towards bernie sanders, he has a question, what is it? >> hello, question, i'm a small business owner -- >> tell me your name again. >> daniel. >> daniel. >> and you know, you run the numbers and you try to figure out okay, at the end of the day when you're spending as much on your health care every month as you do your mortgage, what ways would you choose to try to lessen that burden on the middle class and, you know, small business owners like myself? >> yeah. look, i think we need to build upon the good things that president obama has done with the affordable care act. and -- but no program ever came into existence in a perfect condition. sop we have to improve it. one of the ways i think we need to improve it is by covering the high-value, sort of early, out of pocket expenses that people are experiencing. what i hear from folks all over iowa is ma maybe while their premiums levelled off, they're
paying more out of pocket and deductibles are higher. sop we n to, we need to push the insurance companies to actually offer, offer products that pay for those early, those first out of pocket expenses, but let me take you up to a slightly larger and higher level, and it is this. look, we need to, we need to change what it is that we actually pay for to put willness at the center. in my own state, we moved all 46 of our acute care hospitals out of fee for service and started paying them global payment for all of their medicare and medicaid patients. why? because the biggest driver of your high health insurance costs and throughout our country is the hospital cost at the center. and we told our hospitals that if you reduce avoidable hospital reemissions, you can share in those savings. and the new england journal of medicine did an article about four weeks ago and said, i'll be damned, it actually worked, we
can dial up wellness, reduce the expense here, and that's the future, i believe, and every state has a role to play in moving that way because clearly we're still paying too much for health insurance. our systems called on all payer system. we have a rate setting commission, and we're able to replace the institutional profitability, i mean the hospitals aren't going bankrupt by any means, but we're able to put wellness at the center. that's what we need to do as a country to bring down the high cost of health care. [ applause ] >> thank you, daniel. another question for you. jenna bishop, drake university, she's undecided on what candidate she's supporting and she has a question about young voters for you. >> it's still early, there's six days. >> hi governor. i'm 23 years old. and i care about a lot of issues, other than just the cost of college. i'd like to know what issue you think should be most important to young voters and why. >> thank you.
great question. i have put forward a plan for dead-free college within the next five years, and as the one candidate among the three of us with 15 years of executive experience, we went four years in a row in my state without a penny's increase to college tuition so you can check out my plan for that on my website, martinomalley.com. you know what i believe is the biggest issue you should be concerned about as a young person who has more time on this planet than i do, and that is climate change. [ applause ] climate change is the greatest business opportunity to come to the united states in 100 years. and i am the first candidate in either party to put forward a plan to move us to a 100% clean, electric energy grid by 2050, and create five million jobs along the way. and this is another one of those instances, chris, where iowa is
pointing the way forward. look at what you have already done in your state. 30 to 35% of your energy now comes from clean, iowa wind. which wasn't there 15 years ago. and you employ 5,000 people in the new industry, and the great thing about those big component parts you see rumbling down the highway on i-80 is you're too darn big to make sense to import them from other countries. so you have to build those here. [ applause ] and it's a big, and it's a big differentiator among the three of us. and we're all, we're all decent people, we all want to do the right thing for our planet, but there is a generational perspective here, and we're not going to get to 100% clean, electric grid with all of the above strategy more than the moon with all of the above strategy. it was an engineering challenge and we are up top this as americans. incrementalism, half steps, splitting the loaf, that's not going to get us.
and that's not what your generation wants, you want the straight truth and face our challenges fearlessly and make this new reality ours. >> what works for you, you like the answer? >> i think that's great. i think the environment's huge, obviously, especially for those of us that are going to be living a lot of years, hopefully. so thanks. >> hopefully we'll still be there. >> arnold woods, he is the president of the des moines naacp, air force veteran in vietnam and undecided. your question, sir. >> yes, i am undecided. and question i have is because of the extreme number of our military personnel returning from war zones, combat zones with ptsd, what is your feeling toward reestablishing the military draft? and for those who are not deemed worthy to go to military draft or to be drafted into the military, do you have any options for them where they can serve our country zpr a couple
years, prior to going to college? >> hey, thank you. i have put forward in your state 15 strategic goals to move our country forward again. to rebuild the truth of the american dream to get wages to go up, to make college more affordable and debt-free within the next five years. cut drug overdoses in half in the next ten years, gun debts in half in the next ten years, but one of the goals is to cut youth unemployment in half in the next three years. and i proposed to do that by making national service a universal option for every kid in america to serve their country in environmental restoration or in public health or other avenues in addition to the military. and i believe that that will not only allow our kids to go to college in a more affordable way, giving them an increased pell grant benefit, but i know it'll do a great deal to tap that goodness within the next generation. and bring it forward. bring their ethic forward. let me talk about veterans
because another one of our, my strategic goals is to full employment for the veterans of ours who come home from iraq and afghanistan. we do a very poor job of transitioning our veterans back to civilian life. and i have found, as a governor, attacking this problem, that the key is, employment. talking to our veterans about employment. there is absolutely no hand-off between the defense department and veterans affairs, let alone our state departments of veteran's affairs. and in fact, on the dd-214 the discharge form that veterans fill out. there's not even a box for an e-mail address. and a lot of our veterans become ghost people. we might catch up eventually at the hospital. we might catch up with them at a county jail. we're a better nation than this and we need to have a transition program so that no veterans slip through the cracks and make the first goal so we can then get to the posttraumatic stress issues,
mental health, and other things, first goal needs to be for employment. because every person needs to be needed. and we need our veterans back here, every bit as much as we needed them abroad. [ applause ] >> got another question for you, governor, debora plumber, from drake university, undecided. as has a question about the kpli. >> good evening, governor. >> hi. >> do you have any specific plans to grow be the economy at a rate that will increase job growth for those, so that nose who are long-term unemployed or fallen out of the work force will have an opportunity to get back in? >> sure. yes. let me talk about our economy. prior to president obama's good work, and he's done great work, saved us from a second great depression, from the recklessness and greed on wall street, our nation's creating jobs again, and we're the only species on the planet without full employment. jobs are important. without jobs, nothing works
well. here's another thing that doesn't work well in america, unless it's going in the right direction. and that is wages. for the first time this side of world war ii, 70% of us are earning the same or less than 12 years ago. so, as i look at this, i believe that we need to first and foremost remember that our economy is not money. it is people. it is all of our people. and we need to restore common sense wage and labor policies that make wages rise again. things we used to do, democrats and republicans together, all the time, like keeping the minimum wage above the poverty line. paying overtime pay for overtime work. how about this? the promise of equal pay for equal work for men and women. [ applause ] making it easier for people to join labor unions instead of harder --
[ applause ] and then, here's another one to make wages go up instead of being a drag on wages, let's get 11 million of our neighbors out of the underground shadow economy by passing comprehensive immigration perform. [ applause ] get a pathway to citizenship. >> governor -- >> but there's -- chris, and two other brief ones on this. im the first candidate to put forward a new agenda for america's cities. america's cities are where we have some of the worst problems of structural unemployment and where we can do the most good with investment, mobility, mass transit, new area of work force housing, cities the leading edge to the clean, green environment and squaring our shoulders to climate change and training people to actually be part of the retrofitting and the distributed energy future that is americas. >> governor. >> thank you. >> talk to the audience about points of contrast between you and senator sanders when it comes to the economic plan.
so much is made of him being a self-described democratic socialist. do you see yourself as that different from him when it comes to the economy? >> yeah, look, my story is not the story of a, of of a democratic conversion. my story is the story of a democratic upbringing. and my parents taught me that the stronger we make our country, the more our country can give back to ourselves and to our children. and so i believe in fair market american capitalism. and i also as part of those 15 strategic goals believe aswood row wilson believes that freedom, economic freedom also means freedom from monopoly. i would agree -- [ applause ] and i would actually agree with senator sanders in this sense, whe tre's been such a theoint concentratn of corporate wealth and power in the hands of so few that it's taking opportunity out of the homes of
the men. and whenever that happens, there's only two paths forward, and only one of them is good. and that is a sensible rebalancing based on the common good we share. we need to push back on these concentrations of corporate power, wall street, big banks, but other places as well. you know here in iowa, a farmer told me that 12 years ago, they used to have about a dozen now they only have four or five. hog farmers are more productive than ever, but getting a lower price than ever. economy is an ecosystem, you know, and the center of that ecosystem is a stronger middle class. in other words, the stronger we make our middle class, the more our economy grows. and that's what we've lost track of. until these 30 years of trickle down economics. the more our workers earn, the more they spend, the more our economy grows. and so, no, i will say this though, chris, i think that -- i
do believe that the fundamentals of american capitalism are still zrong. but we need to shake ourselves out of this trickle down nonsense that says concentrate wealth, remove regulation, and keep wages low. low wages for america is not an america that's working. we need wage policies to make wages goes up again. [ applause ] >> gentleman standing up is brian carlson, student at drake university, he's leaning towards supporting hillary clinton. he says he wants to talk about discrimination in the workplace. and he has a question about it. what do you have? >> last year's supreme court decision granting full marriage equality was truly monumental for the lgbt community across the nation. um -- um, but we still face a hard battle ahead. sfaeshlly in the areas of employment and housing. in many states we still face discrimination. i was wondering what would you do as president to help us to
acquire full equality in those areas on the federal level? [ applause ] >> i believe that the genius of this american experiment of ours is that in every generation, we take action to include more people, more fully in the economic, the social, and the political life of our country. that's the broader ark of american history. we've yet to arrive at a perfect union, but, every generation, we have the opportunity to make it a more perfect union. in my own state, we were one of the very first to pass, at the ballot, marriage equality. i also passed a transgender antidiscrimination bill in the state of maryland as well. [ applause ] and it's interesting, you know, the common ground we found to get these things done was this,
it's really about our kids. it's about all our kids. and tlrn some people in maryland who said we might not be able to pass marriage equality. and we made the argument all about the truth that there is dignity in every child's home. and every child's home needs to be protected equally under the law. one of the most powerful beliefs we share is our belief in the dignity of every person. that's what's motivated me and the common good that we share. and i will do everything in my power to move us forward as a nation and make us more inclusive in every possible way i can. across the board because that's what makes us stronger as a country. >> thank you. >> governor, you were talking about farming earlier and the status here in iowa, we have a question about that. this is president of the iowa farmers union. she's leaning towards clinton, but she's a fourth generation farmer and she has a question. >> first i want to the say, i love that you mentioned the
problem of market concentration -- >> yeah, not good for family farms, is it? >> not too great. not nearly as many as there used to be. my kbe is about beginning farmers. i'm a beginning farmer. the average age of farmers in the united states right now is about 57 years old. and that number goes up a little bit each year for beginning farmers. a group that includes a growing number of veterans, women farmers like me and other groups. we do have some doesn'ts with innovative business models that include gers if ied farms, more sustainable farming practice, but not nearly enough of us. we know that lot are going to be retiring in the next decade and there aren't enough people to replace them. my question is, after decades of rural out migration and farm consolidation, what would you do to provide opportunities and invest in a new generation of family farmers for the country? >> yeah, thank you. [ applause ]
>> i think this is a big, big part of the fure f rural america. sustainable economies. the ability to consume and to grow and to do that within the footprint of of this place that we call home. and so, i would like to work with congress and i plan to work with congress to do more in the farm bill to reduce the barrier of entry, to new farmers as they start up. huge capital costs that go into buying the land and buying the equipment, but it's also what's best for keeping our rural economies and it's best for america. sop i've seen in my own state a whole movement to the bilocal movement and the sort of farming that you describe. we need to do more as a nation to encourage young farmers to go into farming, to reduce those barriers, and those capital costs, even at the same time that we pushed back against the concentration of monopoly power in the agricultural sector, and
that's what i intend to do. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> thank you. >> all right. another question for you. we know that you are working this whole state and going for the gold. you're in it to win it, i understand that. but you can make an argument that you are the most important person that we're going to have in this room tonight, whether or not you win or not. here's why. as owe knob, there's a 15% rule in a lot of these caucuses, if you don't have 15 in the room, those women have to go to a different candidate. so if you don't have that, and your followers have to go somewhere else, the people who support you. what is your suggestion to them? [ laughter ] >> this sounds like a process question. look, here's my suggestion to them. i have put together a terrific organization where we have put together a terrific organization
all across this state, chris. and one of the reasons why, why the polls back east can never figure out how the caucuses work is because it's a very or gajic thing. my message to the o'malley supporters across this state is this, hold strong at your caucus. [ applause ] hold strong at your caucus because america's looking for a new leader. america's scanning the horizon. we cannot be this fed up with our gridlock dysfunctional, national politics and think that a resort to old ideologies are old names is going to move us forward. i tell my people, hold strong. i knoll this is a tough fight. but i've always been drawn to it tough fight. i believe the tufzness of the fight is the way the hidden god has of telling us we're fighting for something worth saving. our country's worth saving, the american dream is worth saving,
this planet is worth saving. america needs new leadership, and i need the o'malley supporters out there on caucus night to hold strong and mauve forward like iowa does. i love that. [ applause ] >> all right, let's bring in benjamin, grew up in iowa, he's now a law student. he's leaning towards supporting you on monday, he has an important question for you. >> yes, governor o'malley. this is going to give you a chance to wrap up your main pitch. we'll give you 30 seconds, same thing we gavel to senator sanders, but go ahead. >> right on cue with that, you're aware that national polls continue show you trailing secretary clinton and senator sanders. so to those that are still, you know, undecided like me or maybe just less informed about politics, on top of what you've already talked about, what's the last thing that you would try to tell them to convince them that you are in fact the best candidate for the democratic party? >> thank you. this is what i would say. i would say that time and time
again in the history of the state of iowa, iowa has found a way to sort through the noise and to sort through the national polls. and to lift up of a new leader for our country. at times, when that was critical and essential. that's when you do eight years ago when you lifted up barack obama to lead our country forward. and we need to build upon his good work. by continuing to move forward. and, i am the only -- i am the only one of the three of us who has a track record, not of being a divider, but of bringing people together to get meaningful things done. raising the living wage, making college more affordable. creating jobs, healing wounds and divisions. that's what our country needs right now. we are a great people. we are a generous, and we are a compassionate people. and we are far better than the sort of fascist rhetoric that you hear spewed out business donald trump, the enduring
symbol of our country is not a barbed wire fence, it is statue of liberty. and we -- [ applause ] -- seen i'm not here to praise you, iowa, i'm here to challenge you. lift up a new leader. because you can change the course of this presidential race. you can shift this dynamic on caucus night. i know you can, i've seen you do it before. there is nothing so divided about our national politics that it cannot be healed with the renewed faith in one another and new leadership. that's what i have to offer. my candidacy is in your hands. do with it as you will. but i think it's important in order to move our country forward that once again, i iowa lift up a new leader so we can make america the compassionate, generous, and inclusive place that we need it to be. thanks. [ applause ]
>> thank you. >> all right, thanks to governor o'malley, hillary clinton is in the wings. she's ready to face these iowa voters, next. so since you have at&t and directv you can get our new unlimited data plan. unlimited data? so we're like rich?! you're data rich. data rich (we hear t.i.'s "whatever you like") i think we can get used to being data rich. get data rich. get unlimited data on four lines for $180 a month when you have at&t wireless and directv. its intelligent drive is msystems...ng. paradigm-shifting. its technology-filled cabin...jaw-dropping. its performance...breathtaking. its self-parking...and self-braking...show-stopping.
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as you've seen tonight is something different. it is a chance for the voters of iowa to question the candidates directly. next up, former secretary of state, hillary clinton. [ applause ] >> how are youed? great to the see you. hi, everybody. [ applause ] >> interesting weekend for you. boston globe, endorsement. des moines register, endorsement. maybe the best accolade, president obama gave an interview, talked about this race, seemed to get more into it than he has in the past. he said, you're quote, wicked smart. knows every policy inside and out. sounds like and endorsement to me. >> well, i was really touched
and gratified when i saw that. you know, people here in iowa remember, we ran a really hard race against each other, and then i had the opportunity when he asked me to serve as his secretary of state, and it not only was a great working relationship, but turned into a real friendship. and he knows how hard the job is. and he knows it firsthand. so i really appreciated what he said and how he said it because it was a positive, reflection on what we have to get done and how hard it's going to be, and therefore, the stakes in the election are really high. and i think that's what voters are beginning to really tune into starting here in iowa. >> he says also in there, you get undue criticism. by the way, i have regrets about my campaign and some of the things we did. was that surprising? >> yes, that was surprising.
you know, i really appreciated him saying that because he had that great line, which i love, i think he said something like, you know, she had to do, he said i was like fred astair, she was ginger roger doing it backwards in high heels. and i thought that was a really tough, a very sweet remark, but you know, i understand that you get into the arena and you ar going to get pulmmelled and pushed and criticized. i wouldn't be doing it if i didn't think it was absolutely necessary to try to build on the progress that we've made. that we've made under president obama against great odds, and that we've got to do everything we possibly cannot to let the republicans rip away the progress and turn us backwards. that would be such a loss for our country. we need to build on it and go further, and that's what i'm
trying to do in my campaign and talking about all the issues that i think are on the minds of the people i speak to across the state. >> and you get to do that tonight. we're going to get questions right from the voters. 2008, we're talking about. here you are again, another election. praise and promise coming your way, but another nail-biter -- >> right. >> with a self-described socialist, named bernie. >> right. >> how did that happen? >> look, it's a great country, despite what one of the republican says, it's a great country, and we are all on the democratic side, having a spirited debate about the issues we care about. i'm so proud -- you've seen my two democratic opponents, and the three of us have run a campaign talking about the differences we have on issues. that's totally fair. that's what we want you to know. the other side is not talking issues, they're talking insults.
so i'm proud of the campaign we've run and what we've put out there before the american people. and it's a tough campaign. and it should be because it's the hardest job in the world. you have to pick a president and a commander in chief, and you want to really vet the people that are running. and i'm really having a good time going around talking and listening to folks on monday, the people in iowa get to be the first people in the world, chris, to express an opinion about who should be president and commander in chief, and what they want to see as our nominee to go up against the republicans. >> it feels like lot of young people, we're passionate supporters of bernie sanders, and i don't see the same
enthusiasm from younger people for you. in fact, i've heard from quite a few people my age that they think you're dishonest, but i'd like to hear from you and why you feel the enthusiasm isn't there. >> well, i think it really depends upon who you're seeing and talking to. you know, today in oskaloosa, i spent time with about ten high school students who are enthusiastically working for me. i see young people across the state who are doing the same. but i'm totally happy to see young people involved in any way. that's what we want. and we want to have a good primary, to pick a nominee, and then we want to have everybody join together to make sure we win in november. which afterall is the purpose of this whole campaign. [ applause ] and so -- [ applause ] you know, look, i've been around
a long time. people have thrown all kinds of things at me. and you know, i can't keep up with it. i just keep going forward. they fall by the wayside, they come up with the outlandish things, they make these charges, i just keep going forward because there's nothing to it. they throw all this stuff at me, and i'm still standing. but if you're new to politics with if it's the first time you've really paid attention, you go oh my gosh, look at all of this. and you have to say to yourself, why are they throwing all of that? well i'll tell you why because i've been on the frontlines of change and progres since i was your age. i have been fighting to give kids and women and the, and the people who are left out and left behind a chance to make the most out of their own lives. and i've taken on the status quo, time and time again, i have had many, many millions of dollars spent against me. when i worked on health care back in '93 and '94, and i don't
know if you were born then, i can't quite tell, but, if you'd been around and had been able to pay attention, i was trying to get us to universal health care coverage, working with my husband. boy, the insurance companies, the drug companies, they spent millions, not just against the issue, but against me. and i kept going. and when we weren't successful, i turned around and said, at least we're going to get health care for kids. and we got the children's health insurance program working with both democrats and republicans, and eight million kids he insurance because of that today. so you've got to keep going. you can't give up. you can never get knocked off course. that's my, that's my hope for you and for all the young people who are getting involved this first time. don't get discouraged. if it were easy, hey, there wouldn't be any contest, but it's not easy. there are very different visions, different values, different forces at work. and you have to have somebody who is a proven, proven fighter.
somebody who has taken them on and won. and kept going and will do that as president. that's why i hope you'll reconsider. [ applause ] >> we have another voter for you to work on, an iowa native, first time caucus goer, she's also leaning towards bernie but a chance with a question. >> great. >> secretary clinton, earlier this month, vice president joe biden said you are a new-comer to the issue of income and equality while praising senator sanders for his authentic voice on the issue. how do we know you'll keep this a top priority? >> and not only economic inequality. rabl inequality. sexist inequality, homophobic inequality. the kinds fz things that go after people to put them down and push them back. so since i was a young lawyer,
my first job in the children's defense fund i went by myself down to alabama, to do investigation because again, inequality stocks our education system. i was on the legal services corporation. i chaired the board. inequality's also not about being able to get a lawyer. you can't afford them. you can't stand up and have your voice heard and have your case acued e jud dated. i have a really long history of taking on all kinds of inequality. when i went to beijing in 1995 and human rights were women right, that was a statement about inequality.
economic inequality, every kind of inequality you can imagine. now, when, when you focus just narrowly on economic imequal, i've also been in that fight. i was in that fight during my husband's administration. and let's remember what happened there. at the end of eight years, we not only had 23 million new jobs, what was most important is incomes grew for everybody. not just those at the top, more people were lifted out of poverty, incomes rose, in the middle and working people, and today in knoxville, in my town hall. i called o an man, he said we never had it so good except when your husband was president because we tackled income equality and produced results, not talk, action, and that's what i will do as president. >> another question for you. secretary, dick goodson, he's the chairman of the des moines committee on foreign relations, he's likely going to cause ku for you next week, unless you
mess it up right now -- >> i'll try not to. hi. >> your question, sir. >> madame secretary, before i ask my question, i have a quick comment, and that is that i was a lukewarm person for you before the benghazi hearings, i watched all 11 hours, every second of it and came away from that a gung ho supporter of yours. >> thank you. thank you. [ applause ] >> i woke up one night thinking that maybe i could see if donald trump was sitting here, maybe he'd punch gowdy out. okay. here's the question, practically all of the comments that have been said for both -- all three candidates tonight, about 99%, have been on some form of domestic policy. and yet, you know, as the former wife of a president and as the secretary of state, that the president of the united states is going to just spend more than 50% of his or her time on
foreign policy issues. so therefore, i think it's important for the public to kind of get a sense of where you may be coming from across the board, philosophically, and the way i look at it the, is you could have a scale of say, one to 100, and on that scale, you would have none interventionists on one side and total interventionists on the other side as ten. as you think about all the issueses that you've confronted as secretary of state, and then as the possibility of looking at issues into the future, where do you think you'll land on that scale of one to ten? >> i'll tell you what. i want to start by saying thank you for asking about foreign policy because you're absoluely right. in fact, president obama in his interview said something about that. he said you know, you don't get to the pick the issues you work on when you're president. a lot of them come at you. they come in the door whether you open it or not, and even gave the example of working on a state of the union, being at the desk in the oval office when one
of his aids came in and said, the iranians have just captured two of our naval vessels and have taken our sailors prisoner. you can't say oh, okay, don't bother me now, i'll deal with that later. you have to immediately be able to switch gears. you've got to do all aspects of job. so let me tell you how i think about it. i think it's imperative you do your very best, every president, and certainly, i will. to avoid military action. it should be the last resort, not the first choice. to use diplomacy, even if it's slow, boring, hard to continue to persist and be patient to get results. and that you also should use the enormous capabilities that we have to project our values around the world. our cultural values, our freedoms, our human rights and respect for the dignity of all people. i want to give you two quick examples. when i became secretary of state, what president obama and i found was that the iranians
were on their way to a nuclear weapons program. this despite all of the bluster from the george w. bush, dick cheney administration. they mastered the cycle, built covert facilities and stocked them with centrifuges that were rapidly whirling along trying to create enough rich uranium to have a weapon. now, our choices were, oh my gosh, or turn our backs and just figure out that somebody else is going to do something or try to get up a new strategy. we chose the third. we said look, we've got to get the world behind us to force them to the negotiating table. so i spent 18 months putting together the coalition that imposed international sanctions on the iranians. that forced them, finally, to begin negotiating with us to get an end to their nuclear weapons program. to put a lidden to. it took 18 months to get the sanctions. it took me about another year to
travel around the world convincing other countries to actually obey the sanctions, and then i began the negotiations. testing whether the iranians would actually come and seriously negotiate, and then secretary kerry and the president did a great job bringing the agreement into fruition. you cannot, you cannot imagine how tense it was because a lot of our friends, and partners in the region, basically just wanted to end that program by bombing them. just bomb them. send them back a couple of years. just stop it. i spent a lot of my time explaining to our friends, why that was not a good idea. and we got the negotiations successfully done, we did put the lid on. so that's how i thought about. another quick example, we had another unfortunate spade of rockets going from gaza into israel in 2012. i'm on the phone with the israelis, they're trying to knock them out of the sky with their missile defense system,
but they're still landing and everybody is really worried that, you know, one of them's going to hit a big group of people, take out a big building somewhere, so the israelis are telling me, look, we've got to go back in. we have to have a ground invasion again in gaza. i'm saying no, please, don't do that, let's try to resolve it. we don't think we can resolve it. i flew from cambodia with the president to israel, middle of the night, go see the israeli cabinet, work with them on what they would accept as an offer, go see the palestinian president, work with him to make sure he'd back it up, go back to jerusalem, finalize the deal, fly to cairo, meet with president morsi, the muslim brotherhood president of the egypt, hammer out the agreement, announce it at about an hour before the deadline that we were facing. they got al ceasefire. there was no invasion. that's what you have to do. so, every situation is different. so i want to make sure i stay as
close as possible to the nonintervention. that's why i say, no american ground troops in syria or iraq, special forces, trainers, yes, planes, to bomb, yes, no ground forces. every part of this has to be done in accordance with values, interests, and our security in partnership with other countries. >> all right. two points of secretary, two points of pushback, one general, one specific. critics will say they see the obama administration which of course you were a par of as secretary of state as a period where now things are less stable around the world, certainly in the war on terror. specifically, senator sanders, earlier tonight said yes, a lot of experience, but did doesn't always translate into the best judgment, and he cited your vote on the war in iraq. how do you respond to those two criticisms? >> well, first of all, after i much longer history than one vote which i said was a mistake because of the way that that was done and how the bush administration handled it.
but i think the american public has seen me exercising judgment in a lot of other ways, and in fact, when that hard primary campaign was over, and i went to work for president obama and he ended up asking me to be secretary of state, it was because he trusted my judgment. and we work side by side over those four years. and think about where we were when he became president. as i just said, iran on the way to a nuclear weapon, which would have destabilized the entire middle east, created an arms race, the like of which we have never seen, we have thuns of thousands of american troops in iraq and afghanistan. our best allies in friends in europe and asia were really put out with us because of the way they'd been treated by the bush administration, and were very skeptical that the united states was a good ally any longer and wanted to leave the world toward peace and prosperity and security. i spent so much of my time getting back the confidence and
the trust of our friends and allies around the world. so, i think we made a lot of progress. now, do we have a terrorist threat? yes, we have had a terrorist threat on 9/11. before president obama took office. yes, we were atalked. so, this is not something new. this is a long term challenge. that's why i've laid out a plan to defeat isis and the radical jihadist terrorist networks that i think has the best chance of achieving that. there is no time in human history where everything is going well. and we now live in a very interconnected world where we know everything that is going on. and where people look to the united states to help. so we have to be leading and that means, we've got to be smart about how we try to assert our power so that is constructive, makes a
difference, and does lead to greater peace and prosperity, but i am very proud of my record as secretary of state and what we accomplished. not only on specific trouble spots, but advancing women's rights, advancing gay rights, advancing religious freedom, internet freedom, and so many of the other values that we hold dear. >> we have another question for you about the example that the united states provides on our left, erin is an american muslim federal outside des moines, served in the u.s. air force. she's undecided, she has a question. >> hi. >> hi secretary clinton, america today is formed by a very diverse group of people. and with the current rise in islam phobia and the black lives matter movement, how can we make sure that the united states today is, that we protect the constitutional rights of all groups of people with that marginalizing any one community, specifically as a mother of three young children as an american muslim, how can i make
sure that this country is the best place on earth to raise my family? [ applause ] >> thank you. [ applause ] thank you for your service in the military. >> it's my pleasure. [ plause ] >> and one of the -- [ applause ] one of the most distressing aspects of this campaign has been the language of republican candidates, particularly their front runner, that insults demeans, denigrates different people. he has cast a wide net. he started with mexicans, he's currently on muslims. but i found it particularly harmful the way that he has talked about muslims. american muslims, and muslims around the world.
and i have called him out continuously about that. it's not only shameful and contrary to our values, to say that people of a certain religion should never come to this country or to claim that there are no real people of the muslim faith who share our values, and who have the kind of dismissive and insulting approach. it's not only shameful and offensive, which it is, i think it's dangerous. and it's dangerous in several ways. it's dangerous because american muslims deserve better, and now their children and they are the target of islam phobia, of threats, i've met a number you have parents who have said their children are afraid to go to school because they are worried about how they will be treated. and we cannot tolerate this.
and we must stand up and say, every person in this country deserves to be treated with respect. and we must stand up against the bullying -- [ applause ] but there's another element to this that i want to mention. i was recently in minneapolis where i met with a big group of somali americans. and i sat down and talked with them and they shared some of the very same concerns you just did. but they are also on the front lines of trying to protect their children from radicalization, they are on the front lines in minneapolis of working with law enforcement to make sure that what they see and hear, they report, in case there are any problems. we have to protect ourselves in america in a unified way. that means making sure our muslim friends and neighbors are
part of us. they are with us. they are on the front lines of defending themselves, their families, their children, and all the rest of us. and the same is true with muslims around the world. we need a coalition that includes muslim nations to defeat isis. and it's pretty hard to figure out how you're going to make a coalition with the very nations you need, if you spend your time insulting their religion. so, we need to stand up and point out how wrong this is. [ applause ] >> all right. we have another question for you, secretary. maria diaz, drake law school student who says she's deciding between you and senator sanders. maria, you have a question. >> hi. >> good evening, secretary. secretary clinton, when you are elected the next president of the united states, what will you say to republican voters? >> that i want to be the president for everyone. and i believe that is exactly what any president should do. you know, chris cuomo's, chris
cuomo's father said one of the smartest things, many smart things about politics, you campaign in poetry, you govern in probes. you know, you can say all the kinds of things you want in a campaign, and we are drawing distinctions with the republicans, and we should because i have very deep disagreements as i just pointed out with a lot of what they're saying and doing. but once the election is over, we must come together to work to solve the problems facing our country. that is what i did. i did it as a first lady when i worked, as i said, toet the children's health insurance program. i did it to reform the foster care and adoption system with one of the most partisan republicans in the house, tom delay. i did it when i was in the senate, and nearly every republican i served with cosponsored legislation that i introduced and we worked to pass. and i did it as secretary of state. reaching out, talking with republicans all the time about what we were doing and listing
their support, getting their advice. so, i know in order to deal with the problems i want to, to get the kmiz working, creating more good jobs, getting incomes rising, making sure we build on the affordable care act, get costs down, but improve it, get to 100% coverage, everything i want to do, i want to start from the belief that we can find common ground. and that is exactly what i intend to do. and i see my friend tom harkin sitting there, and he knows from his years in the congress, you always have to hope you can find common ground. you've got to bring people together. like he did. the americans with disabilities act, what an amazing accomplishment. [ applause ] and -- [ applause ] >> i have a question for you as a point of pushback. you were talking earlier about how it's difficult to form a coalition about being insulted. let's apply that to the democrats and republicans. you want to work with them, but
you were quoted when you were listing people that you saw as adversaries, nra, health insurance companies, probably the republicans. >> yes. >> they did not like that when you said that. and it makes them feel that well secretary clinton doesn't like us, why would she work us with, understandably? >> well, it was tongue and cheek. and i consider them worthy adversaries, because they are, they have their set of objectives, we have ours on the democratic side. but that's why i gave you a short overview. i worked with all of them -- you know when i'm actually in office, they say, really nice things about me. we have a whole, long list of the nice things they say, what a good colleague i am, how easy i am to work with, how willing i am to find common ground, then when i run, oh my goodness, it's unbelievable. so i have no -- i have no problem in saying, yeah, we have political differences, we're on opposite sides, but, weir going to work as hard as we can.
and here's what i know about how to get that done. it takes building relationships, and that is one of the hardest things to do in politics, over ideological and partisan lines. so i'm going to be just giving them all bear hugs whether they like it or not. we're going to get together, we're going to talk about about what we can do, maybe we can get something done together, if not, maybe i can find that slice of common ground to find somebody who will work with me on achieving a goal that we want. so, that's the way the process should work. constantly looking for ways to make a difference and putting together the coalitions within the congress to pass laws. >> so what is it inside you that can separate the human feeling of doing the benghazi hearings, then going back to that same group of people and saying, okay, you know what, let's put that in the past? it sounds hard to do. >> well, i don't know, i came out pretty well, so i think it'd be very -- it would be very
gracious of me to go back and talk to them. >> let's get you another question, zack piper, west des moines, he's undecided. >> kind of on the same issue as the bear hugs, i think one time they might have a hard time bear hugging with the other side and certainly a concern that are a lot of democratic voters have at this point as far as going to the general election and looking forward to working with congress is the benghazi issue. so how are you planning on dealing with that going forward, not only in the general election, but also if you became president working with congress. >> well, look, this is only still an issue because the republicans want to keep it an issue. [ applause ] they know it, i know it, and i think it's very easy to answer, and as the gentleman who stood up before said, if you watched any of it, i answered every question. and at the end of it, the chairman said no, we didn't learn anything new.
because there was nothing new to learn. why? there'd already been eight investigations. most of them by republicans in the congress. the house intelligence committee, the house armed services committee. and what did they conclude? that there were problems that night, but, they were ones that we should look at, not from the perspective of placing blame or pointing fingers, but how do we make sure that never happens again? that is what i said immediately after it happened. that's why i put together an independent board to tell me as secretary of state what i needed to know, and what we could do to fix it. and i accepted all 29 of their recommendations. and we were on the way to implementing them when i left and that has continued. so i am well aware that for partisan political purposes this continues, let me tell you why this makes me -- it makes me sad. it makes me sad because we've had, we've had terrorist attacks, many times before in our country, haven't we?
and we've had american, civilians and military personnel, the subject of attacks. when ronald reagan was president in 1983, our marine barracks, our embassy, were attacked in beirut. more than 250 americans were killed. the democrats didn't make that a part season issue. we were horrified. we were heartsick that americans doing the work they were sent to do, civilians and military were murdered by terrorists. so, the democratic congress worked with the republican president to say what can we do? how do we fix this? fast forward, my husband was president, al qaeda attacked two of our embassies in tanzania and kenya, car bombs blew them up, killed 12 americans, and hundreds of kenyans and tanzanians,ed animal lin albright was secretary, we have
to get to the bottom of this. she did the same as i did, commission an independent report. when the report came out, she made it public. i made the report i commissioned public. that's the only two times those reports have ever been made public. so, again, it was terrible, what can we do? how do we fix it? it wasn't the subject of this kind of partisan, media-driven attack. people wanted to come together. and even after 9/11 when nearly 3,000 americans and others who were working in new york city, the pentagon, on that plane that crashed in pennsylvania were killed, we formed a commission. we said what went wrong? what can we learn? and then we moved on to try to do better. so look, i understand that they will try to make this an issue. ly i will continue to answer you will hear the truth from now
until i'm elected president. [ applause ] >> on that issue, des moines register gave you an endorsement. they questioned your judgment when it came to the e-mail issue, and you know this, but for the audience in 2008, quote, when she says, when she makes a mistake, just say so. this weekend they said, that's a lesson that you have not learned. yes, you apologized, but only when you needed to. not when you first could have. fair criticism? >> well, i think that, you know, look, i was delighted to get the register's endorsement. and it was a very generous one. and yes, i think that's a fair criticism. you know, i, i had, i had no intention of doing anything other than having a convenient way of communicating and it turned out not to be so convenient. so again, we've answered every question and we will continue to do so. but you know, maybe being faster, trying to scramble around to find out what all of this means, i probably should
have done that quicker. >> you're willing to say it was an error in judgment, should have apologize -- >> no, i'm not saying it was an error in judgment. nothing i did was wrong. it was not in any way prohibited -- >> not apologizing sooner -- >> well apologizing sooner. as soon as you can, but part of the problem, and i would just say this as not an kbus, but an explanation, when you're facing something like that, you've got to get the facts. and it takes time to get the facts. so when i said, hey, take all my e-mails, make them public, that had never been done before, ever, by anybody. and so we've been sorting our way through this because it is kind of a unique situation, i'm happy people are looking at the e-mails. some of them are frankly a little, a little embarrassing. you know, you find out that sometimes i'm not the best on technology and things like that, but look, i think it's great. let people sort them through and as we have seen, there is a lot of, you know, a lot of interest, time to get done.g that took -
>> earlier tonight we played senator sanders your ad. >> uh-huh. >> asked him a question. one
of the ads that you're putting out here in the run-up to the caucuses. we'll do the same for you. here's the senator's ad. ♪ notes ♪ >> i'm bernie sanders, and i proof this message. >> i think that's great. i think that's fabulous. i loved it. [ applause ] you know, look, you campaign in poetry, you govern in pros. and we need a lot more poetry in this campaign. and in our country.