Total Bern? Sanders lays smackdown on Kissinger and Clinton, moderator gasps (VIDEO)
Given his pacifist background, Democratic senator Bernie Sanders’ ability to be commander-in-chief is still under scrutiny. But a conflict the 74 year old has no qualms about discussing is the Vietnam War - drawing a gasp of “Oh God” from a Democratic debate moderator Thursday.
Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff were making history by being the first female duo to handle a presidential debate.
Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff make history as first all-female duo to host a presidential debate https://t.co/3ytg6fU59Mpic.twitter.com/1LhI5lR8dP— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) February 12, 2016
One of the hosts couldn’t help but sigh once the ill-fated Vietnam war campaign, fought to contain communism, was broached. No amount of coughing into her microphone could disguise it.
During the debate - where many viewers found it hard to differentiate the candidates’ policies - former anti-war activist Sanders rolled out the V-word.
Debate marred by violent agreement.#DemDebate— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 12, 2016
So far I've learned from this debate healthcare is broken, the economy is bad and we need a Democrat in the White House to fix it.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) February 12, 2016
Discussing foreign policy on PBS News Hour, Sanders zeroed in on rival Clinton’s apparent pride at getting a great big pat on the back by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
More than 40 years after the doomed military campaign ended, uttering the words ‘Vietnam War’ can still provoke a winch from some Americans.
READ MORE: ‘People aren’t dumb’: Sanders attacks Clinton’s effort to distance herself from Wall Street
Which is probably why, when Sanders brought up the conflict and Kissinger’s role in destabilising the region, the moderator was caught off guard.
Kissinger is a Nobel Peace Prize winner; an amazing feat given he backed the secret bombing of Cambodia and effectively paved the way for a murderous dictator to take over.
Speaking about Kissinger’s apparent support for Hillary Clinton, Sanders let rip: “I find it rather amazing, as I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive Secretaries of State in the modern history of this country.”
“I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger,” the Vermont senator added.
READ MORE: FeelTheBern vs. HillaryForAmerica
“Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia when the United States bombed that country… created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people - one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. Count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.” Ouch.
Clinton: We don't know "who you listen to on foreign policy"; Sanders: "It ain't Kissinger" https://t.co/GcFLaPrwQLpic.twitter.com/pltsyVLeqb— The Hill (@thehill) February 12, 2016
Kissinger looks down at the FEEL THE BERN shirt he wore to watch the debate. He sighs and turns off the TV. The room is silent. He is alone.— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) February 12, 2016
Kissinger/Vietnam debate now settled, debate will move on to President Jackson and the removal of Native Americans from tribal lands.— Alex Wagner (@alexwagner) February 12, 2016
Clinton attempted to fire back, saying she listened to “a wide variety of voices” when assessing foreign policy.
She also launched a defence of her predecessors, saying Kissinger’s relationship with Chinese leaders is “incredibly useful”.
Hillary Clinton is spending time at a DEMOCRATIC debate defending Henry Kissinger.— David Sirota (@davidsirota) February 12, 2016
Let that sink in for a second.
Really let it sink in.
The internet has not quite settled on who won the debate, though.
The difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is Hillary is trying to fix system from inside, Sanders is trying to burn it down— TMK (@ManAmongGods) February 12, 2016
Who won the debate? Bernie Sanders. While he roars for his vision, Hillary Clinton remains stuck trying to pour ice water on him. #DemDebate— MovieJay (@MovieJay) February 12, 2016
But the advice for Clinton is to get some ice for those third-degree burns.
Sanders gave Clinton a #Bern she might need some ice for that closing statement #DemDebate— Juss Me ~ Randi (@Randiluvsmusic) February 12, 2016