Hillary v. Bernie
Unless Vice President Biden jumps in during the next few days, all eyes will be on Hillary and Bernie. They may not directly attack each other but there will be subtle attacks, especially from Clinton, and Bernie will attempt to lay out the policy differences between the two. The Sanders camp insists that Bernie will focus on introducing himself to the nation and won't be looking for a fight. Hillary on the other hand needs to land some blows and slow Bernie down.
Free College Education
Let's start with Hillary. I guarantee she will go after Bernie on his plan for free college education at public universities. Last week she tested the line "I am not interested in having the taxpayers pay for Donald Trump's kids to go to college." I expect Bernie to immediately point out that all of Trump's kids went to private colleges and universities, and under his plan it would be Wall Street paying for young people to get a higher education. We already have free public education -- Bernie just wants to extend it four more years.
Hillary would love to spend a lot of the debate on foreign policy. CNN might bring up Benghazi, but I don't think the other candidates will. As the former secretary of state, she will want to impress people with her knowledge of foreign policy. There is big risk here. Both Bernie and Lincoln Chafee will not let her forget her support for the Iraq war. She will have to defend her call for a no-fly zone in Syria. We know Hillary will take credit for imposing tough sanctions on Iran and bringing them to the table for talks on their nuclear weapons program. She will talk about her meetings with world leaders and maybe take a shot at Carly Fiorina, who calls Clinton's meetings photo-ops.
Trump and the GOP
Hillary would love to spend most of her time attacking the Republicans. Her only risk here is voters thinking she is looking ahead and acting like the nominee before the primaries even start. Overall though, this is where she needs to be. All the candidates need to demonstrate that they can make the case against the Republicans and beat them.
One of the biggest openings Bernie has is that he is polling well, even with a significant percentage of voters still not knowing much about him. He has to seize the moment on the national stage and introduce himself to the American people. His message is resonating; he needs to stay on message until all Americans have heard it. He does need to lay out the differences he has with Secretary Clinton, but his main focus should be his core message of fighting inequality. Americans know the system is rigged, and they are looking for someone to fight for them. That is Bernie's lane to the nomination and the White House. Now the differences.
So you think Hillary took the TPP off the table when she sort of came out against the TPP. If you listened closely to Bernie's response, he said it would have been nice to have her on board a few months ago when they needed 60 votes. Bernie is right: Hillary stayed on the sidelines during an extremely important vote. Fast track made it to the Senate floor by one vote; I guess two, if you consider that the vice president would have broken a tie. Twelve Democrats voted to end debate. What if Hillary Clinton had taken a strong position then? Maybe two senators would have helped kill fast track. As it is now, because the president was given fast track authority, the TPP only needs 50 votes in the Senate. Hillary Clinton's position on fast track, according to her communications director Jennifer Palmeri, was that it was a procedural vote and that it was up to members of Congress to decide how they wanted to consider trade deals. To be fair, a few days before the vote, Clinton said she would have "probably" voted against fast track if she had still been in the Senate, but that is a pretty weak statement. Now all she really says is that from what she has heard about the deal, she doesn't think it will meet her standards. I for one didn't hear her say she was opposed.
Keystone XL Pipeline
Once again, Hillary has finally come to the right conclusion, but again she is too late. If she had come to that decision when she was secretary of state and had recommended to the president that he turn down the permit, the pipeline would no longer be an issue. We are now waiting for John Kerry to stop delaying and make a decision, but instead they keep kicking the can down the road, a process started while Secretary Clinton was in office.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).