South Carolina Debate: Insults, Jabs and Interruptions

Siti Hajerah, Reporter

Seven democratic presidential candidates faced off Tuesday night in South Carolina, reuniting six candidates from the Nevada primary debate as well as a seventh candidate back to the stage, philanthropist, Tom Steyer.

Many viewers poured scorn on the moderators through social media due to their inability to keep the candidates in line and allowing the candidates to attack each other with verbal jabs and cross talking.

The debate addressed topics ranging from foreign policy, electability, healthcare and gun control.

According to The New York Times, the front runner, Senator Bernie Sanders bore the brunt of criticism from the other six candidates in between who tried to knock him down a peg regarding his record on guns, his past remarks on communist countries, and his plan to legalize marijuana on day one on his presidency.

Responding to some of the attacks, he jokingly said, “I am hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight, I wonder why.”

According to the Newsweek, on 60 minutes, Sanders praised Fidel Castro for making progress in education, “”We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything was bad,” Sanders said. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?”

Defending his previous remarks, during the debate Sanders gave clarification on his statement,

“Of course you have a dictatorship in Cuba. What I said is what Barack Obama said in terms of Cuba. That Cuba made progress on education,” Sanders said, as the crowd started to respond with boo.

“Really? Really?” Sanders responded to the heckler, before continuing, “Literacy programs are bad? What Barack Obama said is they made great progress on education and health care—that was Barack Obama.”

Former Vice President, Joe biden accused Sanders of misunderstanding the point of Castro’s literacy programs,

“Barack Obama was abroad at a town meeting. He did not in any way suggest there was anything positive about the Cuban government. He acknowledged that they did increase life expectancy. But he went on and condemned the dictatorship. He went on to condemn the people who in fact had run that committee,” Biden said.

Warren continued her attacks on Michael Bloomberg demanding him to release his tax returns.

“We know that Mayor Bloomberg has been doing business with China for a long time, and he is the only one on this stage who has not released his taxes,” she said. “He plans to release them after Super Tuesday. It is not enough to be able to say, just trust me on this.”

Bloomberg said that he is in the process of working to release his tax returns and again promised that he will release this as soon as possible.

The South Carolina debate also marked the final major debate before Super Tuesday, the second most important Tuesday after the general election in the American political process.