The three Democratic presidential hopefuls are taking part in a forum tonight, one week before the crucial Iowa caucuses. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in a tight race with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley remains in the race despite low poll numbers. The forum is airing live on CNN from Des Moines.
Bernie Sanders started off the forum pitching his key campaign theme of economic inequality. He said his message has resonated more rapidly than he anticipated when he first started running for president.
Sanders said he believes Democratic Socialism is the idea that economic rights and security should exist. He said millions of senior citizens are struggling to make ends meet with Social Security payments. He added that government should play a role in making sure kids get access to higher education. Sanders remarked that it's all about creating a government that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy.
The Vermont senator said there are far too many people in the U.S. without access to quality, affordable healthcare. One week before the crucial Iowa presidential caucuses, Sanders said he has supported Obamacare but insisted that it needs to be better. Sanders described a single payer system as "Medicare for all." He acknowledged that taxes will need to be raised to pay for it.
Martin O'Malley followed Sanders saying is optimistic that he will do well in next week's Iowa presidential caucuses. He has struggled to get out of the single digits in various polls. O'Malley argued that he is the candidate who can best-help struggling families.
O'Malley remarked that he believes in American capitalism, but the economy has reached a point where most of the economic power is concentrated in the hands of a very few. He said there needs to be a response that strengthens the middle class. O'Malley advocated higher minimum wages, equal pay for men and women, making it easier for people to join labor unions, and comprehensive immigration reform.
Hillary Clinton took the stage saying she expects a spirited contest in the caucuses and primaries, but the important thing is that the party lines up behind its candidate one they're chosen. Clinton remarked that she's happy that young people are involved in politics in any way. She says she isn't shaken by the possibility that young people may be leaning towards Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.
The former Secretary of State claims she has a long record of fighting economic and social inequality. Clinton said she has been a fighter against all types of inequality for as long as she can remember.
Clinton took a shot at Republican front-runner Donald Trump calling his rhetoric offensive and dangerous. Clinton said Trump has insulted peace-loving Muslims around the world. She called it shameful. Clinton says she wants to be the president of everyone. Clinton said she wants to start with the belief that she can find common ground between the parties. She said the presidency is all about building relationships. Clinton said she's going to be giving Republican lawmakers "bear hugs" and hoped that she'll be able to work with them to get things done.
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