Clinton, Sanders battle for key state in Miami

Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 07:54:01-05

MIAMI, Fla.- The Democratic candidates once again took center stage Wednesday night, battling it out during a debate at Miami-Dade College. 

Fox 4 Reporter Malcolm Johnson reports from Miami-Dade College with supporters for both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. 


Some highlights from Wednesday's Democratic debate:

10:55 p.m.

Hillary Clinton used her closing remarks at the Democratic presidential debate in Miami to ask Floridians to vote for her in their crucial upcoming primary.

Clinton said Wednesday that she will "break down all the barriers" to be sure people can achieve all that they set out to achieve.

Her rival Bernie Sanders said some of the most important issues afflicting the American people were not addressed in the debate, most notably, the uneven distribution of wealth in America where many young people cannot get a college education or pay back their student debt. He told the boisterous audience that "if we stand up and fight back, we can do a lot better."

Florida is among a group of states holding its presidential primary on March 15.


10:50 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says no state understands the importance of a Supreme Court vacancy than Florida - because of the 2000 election.

Clinton said at the Democratic debate in Miami "Let's remember three words: Bush versus Gore. A court took away a presidency."

The recount that led to the presidency of George W. Bush still lingers with some Florida Democrats, who contend that Al Gore should have won the state and the presidency.

Clinton said the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia is one of the most important issues facing the nation right now and she fully supports President Barack Obama's right to nominate a successor before the end of his administration.


10:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are reiterating their support for President Barack Obama's decision to resume relations with Cuba. Clinton says she helped Obama craft parts of the new policy while she was secretary of state.

She said at Wednesday's debate that she hopes the country will move toward democracy and calls the Castro brothers "authoritarian and dictatorial."

Sanders said he, too, would like to see Cuba move in a "more democratic direction," which he says the country's dissidents can do with more exposure to the world.


10:40 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is accusing rival Bernie Sanders of focusing his economic attacks on the past two Democratic presidents - rather than former Republican President George W. Bush.

Clinton said at Wednesday's Democratic debate that she wishes Sanders would join her "in criticizing George W. Bush who I think wrecked the economy."

Her attack is part of an effort to drive a wedge between Sanders, long a self-identified independent, and Democratic primary voters.

Sanders is shooting back, saying he frequently voted against Bush's economic proposals as a senator from Vermont.

"I gather Secretary Clinton hasn't listened to too many of my speeches or followed my work in the Congress," he says.


10:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree on reducing student debt loads. But he says he had the idea first.

Calling current interest rates for student loans "outrageous," Clinton said Wednesday night in a Democratic debate that she has a plan to lower interest rates and limit how long people must repay loans.

Sanders quickly shot back that Clinton was "absolutely right," adding that he thought he said it "many months before she did."

"Thanks for copying a very good idea," he said.


10:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is taking a swipe at Bernie Sanders' spending plans.

The Democratic front-runner implied at Wednesday's debate that Sanders' proposals to provide free tuition at public colleges and universities and a universal single-payer health care plan would cost too much.

Clinton said when people ask him questions about how he would pay for his plans, it's "hard to get answers." To that, Clinton said: "My dad used to say, 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.'"


10:15 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is defending his proposal for free tuition at public colleges and universities -- even for the children of wealthy people like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

He said at Wednesday's Democratic debate that he wants young people to know that if they work and study hard, they can continue their studies without being burdened by heavy college debts.

He said he "doubts" that well-off families would choose public universities over private ones, where under his plan they'd still pay tuition.

And he added that his proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy balances his plan to allow their kids attend public schools for free.


10:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is defending her role in the deadly 2012 attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya.

She said at Wednesday's debate that her shifting explanations for the crisis in the early hours were because of changing dynamics and new information. Clinton also said the investigation has been politicized by Republicans seeking to score points against her campaign.

"This was fog of war," she said, saying that she regrets the lives lost in the crisis.

She added: "I wish there could be an easy answer at the time but we learned a lot."


10:05 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is repeating his calls for Hillary Clinton to release the transcripts of her lucrative private speeches to Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs.

He joked at Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate that if her speeches were so great, she should want to "share it with the American people."

He notes that Wall Street recently donated $15 million to the super PAC supporting Clinton's campaign.

Clinton said she has a long public record and she went to Wall Street before the Great Recession and "basically called them out."

She said she has the "toughest, most comprehensive plan to go after Wall Street."


10:00 p.m.

Hillary Clinton admits that she is not a "natural politician," but says she tries to do the "best I can."

During a Democratic debate in Miami Wednesday, Clinton was asked about polling that shows many voters think she is not trustworthy.

"Obviously it's painful for me to hear that," Clinton said, adding that she said she takes "responsibility."

Clinton said she has committed herself to helping people and tries to show people that they can count on her. She said she was not a "natural politician," like her husband or President Barack Obama, but she hoped people can "see that I'm fighting for them."


9:50 p.m.

Hillary Clinton got some laughs by saying Donald Trump wants to build "a beautiful, tall wall" that will "magically" be paid for by the Mexican government.

Her comments came in response to a question at Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate in Miami on whether her vote as a New York senator to build a wall on the Southern border differs from Trump's plan, which she has called ridiculous.

Clinton says responsible legislators chose to improve border security with more agents and some fencing when needed, and as a result the country has lower rates of illegal immigration.


9:40 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says rival Hillary Clinton is misrepresenting her vote for a federal bailout of the auto industry.

The 2008 vote, he said Wednesday, was part of a larger legislative package that benefited big Wall Street banks.

At the time, Clinton represented New York in the Senate. Sanders told a Miami audience attending the Democratic debate that Clinton backed the bill then because it helped a home-state industry.

"Then you go to Detroit and suddenly this legislation helps autoworkers," he says.

Clinton said it was a "hard vote" and if everyone joined Sanders then the industry would have failed.


9:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are continuing to fight over the details of immigration policy.

Clinton vowed at Wednesday's Democratic president debate not to deport children and immigrants without a criminal record. She said she will prioritize deporting violent criminals, terrorists and those who threaten the nation's safety.

Sanders said Clinton supported turning back children flowing into the country from Honduras and said he wouldn't deport children or immigrants without criminal records.

Clinton was pressed on whether she would follow President Barack Obama's approach, which moderator Jorge Ramos said would be tantamount to becoming "the next deporter-in-chief."

Clinton says she doesn't have the same policies of the "current administration" and would move to "stop the raids" and "stop the roundups."


9:25 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are sparring over their immigration records during a Democratic debate in Miami.

In a lengthy back and forth in the latest debate Wednesday night, the Democratic presidential candidates both affirmed their commitment to immigration reform and sought to poke holes in the other's voting history.

Clinton says she has long been "committed to comprehensive immigration reform" and stressed that Sanders had voted against a 2007 immigration bill.

"Just think, imagine where we would be today if we had achieved comprehensive immigration reform nine years ago," Clinton said.

Sanders said he had concerns about the treatment of guest workers and noted he supported a 2013 immigration bill. He argued that Clinton had sought to block driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants in 2008. "She said don't do it and New York state still does not do it," he said.


9:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is calling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump "un-American."

She says Trump trafficks in "prejudice and paranoia" and says voters can draw their own conclusions about him. She tries to turn Trump's campaign slogan on its head, saying, "You don't make America great again by getting rid of everything that made America great."

Bernie Sanders says voters will "never elect" someone like Trump, pointing out that he has insulted many kinds of people, including African Americans, women and Muslims. He is reminding voters that Trump was part of the "birther" movement to tag President Barack Obama as not American.


9:15 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is dismissing questions about whether she'd drop out of the presidential race should her use of a private server while secretary of state result in a federal indictment.

"Oh for goodness and it's not going to happen," she says, responding to a question from moderator Jorge Ramos. "I'm not even answering that question."

Clinton insists she broke no rules by running her State Department email account from a private server located in her New York home, though she now calls the decision "a mistake." The messages were classified by government agencies years after she sent them, she says.

"I did not send or receive any emails marked classified at the time," says Clinton. "What you're talking about retroactive classification."


9:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says the primary campaign is a "marathon" and she will "work hard for every single vote" despite her loss to Bernie Sanders in Michigan.

Clinton was asked about her surprising loss to Sanders in Michigan's primary. She notes that she won in Mississippi and ended the night with more delegates.

Sanders is trailing Clinton among pledged delegates but he says in the "coming weeks and months" his campaign is going to do "extremely well." He says he can convince superdelegates that he's the strongest candidate to defeat Republican businessman Donald Trump.


9:08 p.m.

Hillary Clinton began her pitch to a Miami audience by reiterating her call to "knock down barriers."

In her opening remarks at the latest Democratic presidential debate Wednesday, Clinton said she is committed to raising incomes and creating good jobs. She also urged for improving education so that all children can benefit.

Her rival Bernie Sanders repeated his rally call to end "establishment politics and establishment economics," saying that the economy is "rigged."

He also vowed to create jobs and better wages if he is elected president.