Washington, Taking the stage a day after the deadly terrorist strike in Paris, Hillary Clinton in direct contrast with President Barack Obama asserted that ISIS “cannot be contained” but instead must be “defeated.”
“We have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network. It cannot be contained, it must be defeated,” she said at the second Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday night.
On Thursday, before the terrorist strike, Obama declared in an interview that ISIS had been “contained,” asserting that the terror cell had been stalled in Iraq and Syria.
“What the president has consistently said, which I agree with, is that we will support those who will take that fight to ISIS,” former secretary of state said seeking to balance her response to the Paris attacks against her ties to the administration.
Both of Clinton’s rivals, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley criticised the frontrunner for her vote in support of the Iraq War as a senator.
“I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unravelled the region completely and led to the rise of Al Qaeda and to ISIS,” Sanders said.
O’Malley argued that the problem wasn’t simply limited to Clinton’s vote for the Iraq invasion, pointing to “cascading effects” that followed.
“We need to be much more far-thinking in this new 21st-century era of nation-state failures and conflict. It’s not just about getting rid of a single dictator,” he said.
Unlike Republicans no Democratic candidate used the term “radical Islam” to describe terrorists.
“I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims,” Clinton said. Cautioning against painting with “too broad a brush,” she added: “We are at war with violent extremism.”
Though much of the debate focused on national security, Clinton sparred with her rivals on domestic issues like financial regulatory reform and gun control.
“I’ve laid out a very aggressive plan to rein in Wall Street,” Clinton said, touting a plan that she said not only targets the big banks, but the shadow banking industry as well.
Asked to react to Clinton’s answer, Sanders shot back: “Not good enough.”
Sanders also accused Clinton of being too close to the banking industry and of allowing rich donors to fund her campaign. He suggested that her ties to the financial sector were a reason that she does not support breaking up banks.
“Their business model is greed and fraud, and for the sake of our economy,” Sanders said, “major banks must be broken up.”
Contending that it was the job of Democrats to protect Main Street from Wall Street, O’Malley said: “You can’t do that by campaigning as the candidate from Wall Street.”
The issue of Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time at the State Department also surfaced, but briefly.
As he did in the first Democratic debate, Sanders again said he was “sick and tired” of discussing the controversy, and that he would prefer that the media focus on “why the middle class is disappearing.”
Letting out a laugh, Clinton said, “I agree completely. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”