I set my DVR to record the second Democratic Debate moderated by CBS because I wanted to watch the football game between LSU and Arkansas. During commercial breaks I’d peek in.
I had read earlier in the day that CBS was proposing changing the format of the debate to discuss the attacks in Paris that took place on Friday. According to CNN’s Carol Costello, a Sanders aide “lost it” during a conference call saying he did not want the focus to be on foreign policy.
Jazz Shaw, who blogs at Hot Air, shared his thoughts on how the candidates might address what to do about ISIS prior to the start of the debate:
“These three Democrats are great at talking about mass shootings and violence so long as the shooters are either American police officers or racist lunatics. They know just how to answer those questions in a way to most strongly impress their base. Go after the cops in the former case or the NRA in the latter. It comes as easy as a fish takes to water. But what will they say when the death and mayhem is being ladled out on a truly massive scale and the perpetrators are the villains of ISIS who Obama has been so completely ineffective in defeating?”
So here’s the part of the transcript that dealt with that subject:
DICKERSON: All right, thank you, Governor. Thank all of you.
The terror attacks last night underscore biggest challenge facing the next president of the United States. At a time of crisis, the country and the world look to the president for leadership and for answers.
So, Secretary Clinton, I'd like to start with you. Hours before the attacks, President Obama said, "I don't think ISIS is gaining strength." Seventy-two percent of Americans think the fight against ISIS is going badly. Won't the legacy of this administration, which is-- which you were a part of, won't that legacy be that it underestimated the threat from ISIS?
CLINTON: Well, John, I think that we have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network. It cannot be contained, it must be defeated.
There is no question in my mind that if we summon our resources, both our leadership resources and all of the tools at our disposal, not just military force, which should be used as a last resort, but our diplomacy, our development aid, law enforcement, sharing of intelligence in a much more open and cooperative way—that we can bring people together.
But it cannot be an American fight. And I think what the president has consistently said—which I agree with—is that we will support those who take the fight to ISIS. That is why we have troops in Iraq that are helping to train and build back up the Iraqi military, why we have special operators in Syria working with the Kurds and Arabs, so that we can be supportive.
But this cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential.
DICKERSON: But as—Secretary Clinton, the question was about, was ISIS underestimated? And I'll just add, the president referred to ISIS as the JV, in a speech at the Council of Foreign Relations in June of 2014 said, "I could not have predicted the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq."
So you've got prescriptions for the future, but how do we even know those prescriptions are any good if you missed it in the past?
CLINTON: Well, John, look, I think that what happened when we abided by the agreement that George W. Bush made with the Iraqis to leave by 2011, is that an Iraqi army was left that had been trained and that was prepared to defend Iraq. Unfortunately, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, set about decimating it. And then, with the revolution against Assad—and I did early on say we needed to try to find a way to train and equip moderates very early so that we would have a better idea of how to deal with Assad because I thought there would be extremist groups filling the vacuum.
So, yes, this has developed. I think that there are many other reasons why it has in addition to what happened in the region, but I don't think that the United States has the bulk of the responsibility. I really put that on Assad and on the Iraqis and on the region itself.
DICKERSON: Okay, Governor O'Malley, would you critique the administration's response to ISIS. If the United States doesn't lead, who leads?
O'MALLEY: John, I would disagree with Secretary Clinton respectfully on this score.
This actually is America's fight. It cannot solely be America's fight.
America is best when we work in collaboration with our allies. America is best when we are actually standing up to evil in this world. And ISIS, make no mistake about it, is an evil in this world.
ISIS has brought down a Russian airliner. ISIS has now attacked a western democracy in—in France. And we do have a role in this. Not solely ours, but we must work collaboratively with other nations.
The great failing of these last 10 or 15 years, John, has been our failing of human intelligence on the ground. Our role in the world is not to roam the globe looking for new dictators to topple. Our role in the world is to make ourselves a beacon of hope. Make ourselves stronger at home, but also our role in the world, yes, is also to confront evil when it rises. We took out the safe haven in Afghanistan, but now there is, undoubtedly, a larger safe haven and we must rise to this occasion in collaboration and with alliances to confront it, and invest in the future much better human intelligence so we know what the next steps are.
DICKERSON: Senator Sanders, you said you want to rid the planet of ISIS. In the previous debate you said the greatest threat to national security was climate change. Do you still believe that?
I thought you’d rather watch the video than read the transcript, so here’s Bernie’s socialist “hotcoldwetdry” climate change insanity.