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During the third Democratic debate and the last of 2015, the presidential candidates wasted no time addressing Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton on Saturday night condemned Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., saying he is sending a “discriminatory message” and “becoming ISIS’ biggest recruiter.” She added, “They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” (Clinton did not offer specific evidence on the claim.)
“Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people, and to make them think there are easy answers to very complex questions,” said the Democratic frontrunner. “We need to be united against the threats that we face.”
Recounting her experience as a senator after 9/11, Clinton said she gives credit to former President George W. Bush for reaching out to the Muslim community to say, “We are in this together.”
She again referenced Trump while discussing guns. “Arming people is not the appropriate response to terrorism,” Clinton said. “I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a clash of civilizations,” which “fans the flames of radicalization.”
Before the televised event, tensions had been simmering between Clinton and Sanders over recent revelations that his campaign workers had improperly accessed voter data compiled by the Clinton campaign.
To kick off the night, Sanders offered an apology to Clinton over the data breach. “Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton, I want to apologize to my subordinates,” he said. “This is not the type of campaign that we run.”
In response, Clinton said, “I very much appreciate that comment, Bernie.” She then urged the moderators to move on, which was seconded by Martin O’Malley, who criticized the back-and-forth bickering.
Adopting a lighter tone to close out the evening, Clinton took a note from President Obama and signed off with a nod to Star Wars: “Thank you, goodnight, and may the Force be with you.”
The three candidates took part in the debate, which was held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. It was hosted by ABC News and moderated by David Muir and Martha Raddatz.
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