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Post-Debate Analysis of Democratic Debate. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 6, 2016 - 23:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. Welcome to our special coverage of tonight's CNN Democratic presidential debate. The 2016 race has been nasty, vulgar at times. But for those of you who have been watching CNN's series premiere "Race for the White House", it made one thing very clear tonight, and that is dirty tricks and nasty debates are business as usual in American politics. And the historic Kennedy-Nixon debate proved the value of the national stage and how it can change the course of history.

In tonight's debate, Bernie Sanders came out swinging, going directly after Hillary Clinton, slamming her on her ties to Wall Street repeatedly. And during tonight's debate, we actually found out Sanders won today's caucuses in Maine. And there was a big turnout for Democrats in Maine, more than we saw for Republicans, significantly more.

And as you can see, for the overall numbers here in Maine, a big win for Bernie Sanders, 64 percent, to about 36 with rounding for Hillary Clinton. On Saturday, he also won big in both Kansas and Nebraska. Clinton's lone victory though was the crucial Louisiana primary. For those of you who might have missed some or all of tonight's debate, here's a quick look back at the biggest moments.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe the governor of this state should understand that his dereliction of duty was irresponsible. He should resign.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I agree. The governor should resign or be recalled. And we should support the effort of citizens tempting to achieve that. But that is not enough. We have to focus on what must be done to help the people of Flint. We're going to stop this kind of job exporting and we're going to start importing and growing jobs again.

SANDERS: I am very glad, Anderson, that secretary Clinton has discovered religion on this issue, but it's a little bit too late.

CLINTON: I voted to save the auto industry. He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference.

SANDERS: Well, if you are talking about the Wall Street bailout where some of your friends destroyed this economy through ...

CLINTON: You know.

SANDERS: Excuse me, I'm talking.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Let him, his run (ph).

CLINTON: If you're going to talk, tell the whole story, Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Let me tell my story, you tell yours.

CLINTON: I will.

SANDERS: You know what I said? I said, let the billionaires themselves bail out Wall Street. It shouldn't be the middle class of this country.

COOPER: You're agreeing with Senator Ted Cruz on this. Why is he right and the Democrats wrong?

SANDERS: Well, let me tell you. I don't want to break the bad new news. Democrats are not always right. Democrats have often supported corporate welfare. Democrats have supported disastrous trade agreements.

CLINTON: And I have said and I will say again, I'll be happy to release anything I have as long as everybody else does, too. Because what really is behind that question, Republicans and Democrats, is whether I can stand up to Wall Street.

COOPER: Is her answer enough for you that she'll release it when all the Republicans and Democrats release it?

SANDERS: Everybody else to release it. Well, I'm your Democratic opponent. I release it. Here it is. There ain't nothing.

CLINTON: Being a white person in the United States of America, I know that I've never had the experience that so many of the people in this audience have had.

[23:05:06] SANDERS: I would say and I think it's similar to what the secretary said, when you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in the ghetto. You don't know what it's like to be poor. You don't know what it's like to be hassled when you walk down the street, or you get dragged out of a car.

CLINTON: I think that Donald Trump's bigotry, his bullying, his bluster are not going to wear well on the American people.

SANDERS: I would love to run against Donald Trump and I'll tell you why. For a start, what almost not all, but almost every poll has shown is that Sanders versus Trump does a lot better than Clinton versus Trump. And we are, if elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health. And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in mental health. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And joining me tonight, our distinguished panel of political experts. We all watched the debate together in the "Race for the White House". Together, our political commentator, Marc Lamont Hill, chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, our senior political analyst, David Gergen, a former adviser to four presidents including Nixon you just were hearing about and Clinton, Bakari Sellers, and Hillary Clinton supporter former member of South Carolina's House of Representatives, our political commentator Sally Kohn, and a Kayleigh McEnany, a Donald Trump supporter. All right, thanks to all.

These debates, Marc Lamont Hill, matter -- I mean, it's funny that when you think about what we were just hearing about with Kennedy- Nixon, that debate was 70 million people watching.


BURNETT: That gives us a whole new context that the top debate of this season was 24 million about for the GOP. But these debates still matter a lot tonight. And what was your takeaway from this one?

HILL: Two things. One, I thought that it was an incredibly aggressive exchange coming out of the gate, which is something we don't always see. Bernie was very aggressive up front to make sure he challenged Hillary on the Wall Street issue.

But what I found most interesting was at the end of the debate, they both got off of their talking points when they were asked certain questions. Bernie seemed incredibly flustered on the race question at one point, where he said, white people don't live in ghettos. And on the faith question, Hillary didn't seem to have the vocabulary, the language the talk about faith in a way that might resonate with voters.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I thought it was obviously incredibly aggressive. I remember way back when just a couple of months ago, when the two of them, particularly Bernie Sanders, wanted to just stay on message and focus on his message on, you know, income inequality and so and so forth, and he said, he wasn't going to touch Hillary Clinton on any issues that might be weak spots for her. Well, guess what? It's March of 2016 and it's amazing how things change when things get incredibly tight, and that's exactly what happened.

BURNETT: Was there a winner or a loser tonight, David?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Yes, I thought the Democratic Party won tonight against the last Republican debate, very much. So listen, I thought it was terrific this conversation was in Flint. You had real people dealing with real problems, and you're rooted in a reality that was much more present than people asking sort of theoretical questions, what if kind of questions. I thought that that was driven. These two were about five times more substantive than what we saw in the last Republican debate. They went deeper. There were no body parts. It was civil discourse.

BURNETT: Literally.

GERGEN: It was so much interesting. Well, but really important.


GERGEN: That's really important. It means a lot. I though the Republicans that got hurt last time, you know. It was all over. It was kind of rolling. It was just -- that it was not on the -- it just was -- this has some impression (ph) to it. We thought was good.

I thought Bernie was more succinct than Hillary. I thought he got to his answers better. I thought he left all the gaping holes. He thinks he didn't answer very well like the automobile bailout. She is in danger of being seen as joining the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party if she's moved (ph) pretty far over, very far.

What's this about claw backs? For corporations to get benefits, they go overseas, seven years later, you got to pay it all back once you've gotten a benefit?

BURNETT: Right. She said penalize them if they leave the United States, right.

GERGEN: Absolutely. Who they're talking about? You know, you can explore that notion. But, that the message for Donald Trump ought to be, if he gets the nomination, he needs to raise his game for the follow debate. He needs to raise his game.

BURNETT: All right, what's your takeaway from tonight?

BAKARI SELLERS, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: For me, I have to piggyback on David just slightly here because, you know, the environment they were in, and I was in Flint, Michigan this past Friday and speaking to young people. And I spoke to a mother there who had a one-year-old child who was bathing in that water, who was drinking that water for an entire year. And she didn't know if her kid was going to be able to achieve those dreams when he was 15 or 16 years old because of the disabilities that might come from drinking lead in the water. And so, it was good to hear from those voices in the crowd.

And I actually thought by comparison, when you take at Hillary -- when you look at Hillary Clinton's answers and you look at Bernie Sanders' answers, and you look how substantive it was, and compare it to what we saw earlier this week, the Democratic Party, hands down, won the night.

I was very proud of how far both candidates have come on issues of race when challenged by Don Lemon. I thought Don did an amazing ...

BURNETT: We're going to talk about that. And Don Lemon's actually with us.

SELLERS: And he did an amazing job, just not allowing someone to get by with talking points, but pushing those issues of race. I thought both of them have come a long way. And substantive issues about our economy, you know, one of these nights where I'm just really proud to be a Democrat.


SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Amen and I'm not often proud to be a Democrat. This is -- look, it means we had two hours of the candidates talking about substance. And I have to disagree. I thought that they were -- I would never use the word aggressive here, but I thought they went after each other on substance, but they still did not take the opportunity to ding each other personally, to make these sort of guttery snipes that we saw in the Republican Party.

The Republican side, every time they get asked of a substantive question, they use it as a chance to make a dig. And here, they were going after substance. They were talking about the nuances and the differences that people really care about. They talked about issues of race for at least a third if not more of the debate. So utterly, thoroughly, refreshing and such a welcome contradiction from what we're seeing on the Republican side.

BURNETT: Kayleigh.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: And it's worth pointing out when you're asked about substance, it's easy to talk about substance. You know, when you're asked about someone's spray tan, when you're asked about someone's spelling which were part of questions in the last debate, that goads you into a different direction, so that's worth mentioning.

But one thing I would point out that I found really interesting was Bernie Sanders' comment about Democrats aren't always right, and he pointed out some issues where the Democrat Party has been wrong. And it reminded me of Trump's comment on flexibility. How it's so important to be able to change your mind and be able to call out your party. And I think that that really speaksto what's happening in this election. Ideology has really kind of been eviscerated.


MCENANY: It's more about this organic outsider mentality.

BRUNETT: Well, it's interesting, you talked about flexibility. And on that note, I want to talk about one of the headlines from tonight's debate, actually whatever word you want to use and we'll talk about that.

But Hillary Clinton changing her point of view on what should happen to the Governor of Michigan because of the Flint water crisis. Flexibility might be a word some might use, flip-flopping another. Let's play what she had to say about the governor.


SANDERS: What I heard and what I saw literally shattered me, and it was beyond belief that children in Flint, Michigan, in the United States of America in the year 2016 are being poisoned. That is clearly not what this country should be about.

As Anderson indicated, there's a lot of blame to go around. And one of the points that I have made is I believe the governor of this state should understand that his dereliction of duty was irresponsible. He should resign.

CLINTON: Well, I'll start by saying amen to that. We are here in Flint. I'm very grateful that my request that we hold this debate be held here so we can continue to shine a very bright spotlight on what has happened in this city.

I agree, the governor should resign or be recalled. And we should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that. But that is not enough. We have to focus on what must be done to help the people of Flint. I support 100 percent the efforts by your Senators and Members of Congress to get the money from the Federal government in order to begin the work that must occur to fix the infrastructure.


BURNETT: All right. So, the governor of Michigan responded already on twitter. Governor Rick Snyder saying, "I'm taking responsibility. If our value system says we should, my track record is getting things done and I want to get this done."

Dana, what's interesting is that less than an hour before Hillary Clinton said, well, you just heard her say there, Governor Snyder should resign or be recalled, one of her spokesmen was on with Wolf Blitzer saying, she did not think the governor should resign or being recalled. Bernie Sanders, of course, has been saying that all the way along. What do you make of her change?

BASH: The Michigan Primary is-- sorry, was that a little too skeptical? But no, look, this is a highly political time, and he is a Republican Governor who made some serious mistakes, and he even admitted it.

So, for her to stand on the stage with her opponent who is calling for him to resign and for her to seem to be wishy-washy on that politically for the Democratic electorate there especially, I don't think that would have played well.

But it was interesting that she did -- but I wonder, and I don't know this, if she did it on the fly because it was so different from what her spokesman said.

BURNETT: Right. And Bakari, I mean you're a Hillary Clinton supporter, what do you say about that? I mean an hour before, her spokesman was on, saying the opposite. So, was there a lack of communication there? SELLERS: Well no, I think a lot of people have been at that, you know, Governor Snyder should be resigned or recalled a lot sooner than maybe Hillary Clinton may have gotten there.

BURNETT: That's true.

SELLERS: But this is not-- and I have just to push back on Dana a little bit. This is not a political issue. I mean in Flint, I know everything ...

BURNETT: Well then, why wasn't she saying it before?

[23:09:57] SELLERS: Well, I mean I think when you look at the moment and where they were and having to -- this is the first time that you have to answer in front of national T.V. to the people of Flint. You have to answer to those voices, to those faces, to those mothers who are asking the question. And everyone in their right mind knows that Governor Snyder knew Governor Snyder has to be held accountable? And at the end of the day, Governor Snyder should resign.

BURNETT: I mean it's a good defense but I mean, again, to your point, why did you think ...


SELLERS: No, I mean think, yeah. I mean I think Hillary Clinton will tell you today that she should have gotten there sooner. And I think that we should applaud the fact that she's there and Bernie Sanders is there.


SELLERS: And if Bernie Sanders pushed her to get there, then bravo, because that's how candidates become better.

MCENANY: Bakari, I couldn't agree with you more that this shouldn't be a political issue. One thing that I'm frustrated with the Republican is we have seen no Republican candidate make this as a part of their platform.


MCENANY: When you have poisonous water in Flint, Michigan, this happens in third world countries. This doesn't happen in the United States of America. We need to get to the bottom of it. Whatever party that's official, whatever party official, you're out. And you should resign if you knew about it.

HILL: That's precisely why it is a political issue, right? Republicans haven't talked about it because it doesn't play to their base. In fact, it may actually hurt a Republican candidate as extreme as they move to the right to talk about it in that way. And Hillary's decision to say that she doesn't want Snyder to resign or to be fired essentially is a political. This is all political.

BURNETT: All right. So, I want to -- another moment that happened was -- that was very passionate here was the discussion about the bailouts, and the auto bailouts in particular which is near and dear, of course, to Michigan voters still now, and let me play that for you.


CLINTON: Well, I'll tell you something else that Senator Sanders was against. He was against the auto bailout. In January of 2009, President Elect Obama asked everybody in the Congress to vote for the bailout. The money was there and had to be released in order to save the American auto industry and 4 million jobs.

And to begin the restructuring, we just had the best year that the auto industry has had in a long time. I voted to save the auto industry. He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference.

SANDERS: Well, if you are talking about the Wall Street bailout where some of your friends destroyed this economy ...

CLINTON: You know ...

SANDERS: Excuse me, I'm talking.

COOPER: Let him, his run (ph).

CLINTON: If you're going to talk, tell the whole story, Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Let me tell my story, you tell yours.

CLINTON: I will.

SANDERS: Your story is for voting for every disastrous trade agreement and voting for corporate America. Did I vote against the Wall Street bailout when billionaires on Wall Street destroyed this economy, they went to Congress and they said, "Oh please, we'll be good boys. Bail us out." You know what I said? I said, let the billionaires themselves bail out Wall Street. It shouldn't be the middle class of this country.


SANDERS: Wait a minute. Wait, can I finish? You'll have your turn, all right? But ultimately, if you look at our records, I stood up to corporate America time and time again. I went to Mexico. I saw the lives of people who were working in American factories and making 25 cents an hour.

I understood that these trade agreements were going to destroy the middle class of this country. I led the fight against that. That is one of the major differences that we have.


BURNETT: A lot to talk about there in terms of tone as well. David Gergen, now I do have to say that, you know, on the actual vote, true, he voted against it, but in terms of his support for the auto bailout, he did support it. He supported a bill that specifically would have done that. He didn't vote for it because he didn't want the bank bailout that went with it.

GERGEN: Sure. It's complicated because there were two bills.

BURNETT: That's right.

GERGEN: The bailout was embedded in a broad bail that was going to bailout Wall Street. He voted against that. He, at the same time, supported a bail that was just about the auto mobile industry.


GERGEN: He supported the bailout.

BURNETT: The fair thing is he supported an auto bailout even though he didn't vote for the one on the table.

GERGEN: Yes, exactly.


GERGEN: And I don't think he explained it well.


GERGEN: But I want to go back just briefly, and why this push to get the governor of the state out in Flint. I think he shouldn't resign. You're captain of the ship. You know, you're responsible for what goes on in the ship. But if you're going to say that and you want to be nonpolitical, you also want to call for the head of the EPA to step down.

That person has the responsibility too. Why is it that the person in the Obama administration gets a free pass but the Republican governor does not? Both of them ought to be treated the same.


BASH: That's what I started to say ...

GERGEN: They ought to be treated the same.

BASH: That's what I started to say that, you know, of course this shouldn't be political, but everything is political. And there is a Republican governor, but you're exactly right, it is a federal issue too. I mean, there's no question about it.

But one thing I just want to say because I've covered Congress for a long time, and this is often an issue, and this is why it is often a problem when you have the senator or a representative in front of your name and you're running because votes are very, very complicated.

[23:15:04] And you know, Bernie Sanders thought he was doing the right thing when he didn't vote for the broader bailout, and it is very easy to take out specific votes and sort of hit somebody on it and Hillary Clinton was a senator too. She knows that very well.

BURNETT: I will note just for the record, for those who are curious, that the GM bailout lost, the auto bailout, $9.3 billion for taxpayers, right? Taxpayers bailed them out. Treasury sold the shares.

So we, the taxpayers, you out there, we lost $9.2 -- $9.3 billion on that, just to be specific, Sally But the issue here, that one other thing that was -- that people are talking about on twitter tonight is the tone.

KOHN: Yes.

BURNETT: So Bernie Sanders and his back and forth to Hillary Clinton, "Excuse me, I'm talking." And then, "Wait a minute, can I finish?" Waving his finger around.

KOHN: Yes.

BURNETT: That is not going over very well.

KOHN: Not cool. No, it wasn't cool. And look, let's just close out the bailout conversation. This is a matter of optics. It's sort of that you may ultimately not think the auto bailout was a good idea, but you did the bank bailout, so therefore you kind of want to even it out especially for the voters in Detroit.

The tone thing, listen, Bernie, if you're watching, it was bad. It didn't go well. It was awful. I mean it just felt -- it felt rude. It felt dismissive. It felt condescending. There's a way to interrupt. It's a little more playful. I thought Hillary did it pretty well when she said, "Oh, I will take my turn".

You know, she was sort of, you know, trying to be a good sport about it. Now, then again, I think it's -- there's also a lot of sexism that plays into how she has to respond as well.


KOHN: But if she took that kind of tone ...


BURNETT: Kayleigh, something Donald Trump at the sexism, should be ...


BURNETT: ... should be watching because he ends up facing off against her, he could fare much, much worse by interrupting or excuse me, which is something he says all the time.

MCENANY: You're absolutely right. When you look back, when Rick Lazio debated Hillary Clinton for the Senate, there was this infamous moment where he lunged forward and asked her to sign a pledge. It was a fairly innocuous moment. He just asked her to sign a pledge. But the papers, the newspapers got that caption of him lunging at her, and it was this gender dynamic of this woman looking like aghast that this man just shoving a paper in front of her. So, those moments are so important. All he said was excuse me, but it came off as kind of condescending, so he's got to be cognizant.

KOHN: Well, that's right. But I want to be careful we're not suggesting this is like in that sort of, oh, everybody should be so politically correct and mind their p's and q's. That's not what this is.

That actually was a condescending tone. It was a dismissive tone. And for women and hopefully a lot more men, they watch moments like that and say, Oh, I have seen ...


SELLERS: It sounded a lot like that Barack Obama, you're likable enough moment that people remember from these races. And it's not -- we're not, by no means saying, Bernie is sexist or this is Bernie's natural tone by any stretch. However, the tone of the conversation was one in which I think could have been get sort of a bit racist.

BURNETT: And the tone overall, I mean that was one of the most challenging moments.

Brianna Keilar is in the spin room. And Brianna, you had a chance to talk to both campaigns about the tone and the match up, and what did they tell you?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right. This was something that really dominated the spin room here this evening after this debate.

I spoke with Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for the Bernie Sanders campaign. And I spoke with John Podesta who is the chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Take a listen, Podesta, leveling as we've heard from other Clinton campaign officials here that this was a disrespectful tone that Bernie Sanders took.


JOHN PODESTA, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: He repeatedly said he wants to run a positive campaign. In recent days, it seems a little more negative, a little more desperate. And I thought his tone tonight bordered on the disrespectful.

KEILAR: Disrespectful? But I mean that's a charge.

PODENSTA: Well, he kept jumping in, stopping her from speaking and waving his arms as she was trying to talk.

JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: They don't want to talk about her bad trade record. They don't want to talk about her record of taking Wall Street contributions. They don't want to talk about these things, right? They don't want to talk about her support of welfare reform, her support of the death penalty.

On a whole host of issues, that her support or her non nonsupport of fracking, right, when she, as secretary state, supported the exporting of fracking to other countries. Look, on issue after issue, they were really disconnected from the Democratic electorate tonight. So, they want to talk about tone and optics and all these other things instead of talking about the substance of the issues because, frankly, on those issues tonight, it was really a bad night for the Clinton people.


KEILAR: So, the Sanders campaign obviously saying they think this is a distraction, this talk of the tone. But I do think that some Hillary Clinton backers think it's something that may resonate with female voters.

And to that point also, I'm hearing from some Bernie Sanders supporters that they think this is really the Clinton folks raising the specter of sexism, which I'm sure that some of you see that both of these sort of observations as being something that may be true in this idea of the tone from tonight.

I also want to tell you though, I asked these two sides, where did you think that your candidate really landed punches against the other? The big one for the Clinton campaign was obviously on this auto bailout.

[23:19:59] A lot of muddy water about where Bernie Sanders supported and did not support the auto bailout, they feel -- I think a lot of people watching this debate may have come away thinking he did not support the auto bailout in any form. And so the Clinton campaign thinks that's a big win for them.

But the Sanders campaign thinks that they're really resonating with voters here when they talk about the trade deals that she supported in the '90s. And they're stressing that they're seeing tighter polls internally than what we are seeing publicly. We'll have to see if that is true come Tuesday night here in Michigan.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brianna.

And of course, they did talk about that the trade deal, as we've talked about it, Hillary Clinton supported that TPP. And we counted what? 45 times. She is now, of course, adamantly against it.

More special coverage of tonight's CNN Democratic presidential debate.

Next, he wasn't on the stage tonight but the candidates went after Donald Trump.


[23:25:33] BURNETT: Race to the crucial issue for both candidates, both of them fighting to win votes. Clinton leaving Sanders with black voters, and significantly so overwhelmingly so, so far. Tonight, both candidates face some tough questions about race. Did either of them have a breakout moment?

I want to go to Don Lemon in the spin room. Don, you were there asking the questions and pushing hard back on both of them about race in America. What do they say to you?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we talked about everything, Erin. From the 1994 crime bill which many people in the black community believe led to the incarceration of millions of black people especially young black men.

I talked to them about that. Bernie Sanders said back then when the crime bill was being passed, when he actually voted for it, he said that it was -- it led to bitterness, misery, hopelessness and drugs for millions of young people, yet he still voted for it.

We spoke about everything from that to incarceration to not really black lives matter, but what they would do to help the black community. But the one question I think that offered and elicited the best response, I think, and I'm not sure if they actually answered the question, but I think they're probably going to be -- go home and do a little bit reflecting.

And that question is, what racial blind spots might they have growing up in America as a white person and here's what they had to say.


CLINTON: Being a white person in United States of America, I know that I've never had the experience that so many of the people in this audience have had. And I think it's incumbent upon me and what I've been trying to talk about during this campaign is to urge white people to think about what it is like to have the talk with your kids, scared that your sons or daughters even, could get in trouble for no good reason whatsoever like Sandra Bland and end up dead in a jail in Texas.

SANDERS: I would say and I think it's similar to what the Secretary said. When you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto. You don't know what it's like to be poor. You don't know what it's like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.


LEMON: So, I think the real answer to the question was it's a question that they had never really had to think about. And I think it was the first time that they had been presented a question like that so directly.

The interesting thing is, is that as a person of color, a person of color has to think about those issues, about blind spots, what have you.

For me, personally, a blind spot that I have to think about is when some mishap happens or someone I feel is discriminating against me. I have to think about whether I go to race as the first thing, you know, to sort of figure out if this person is doing that to me because of a racial issue. And sometimes it's not, sometimes it is.

But as a person of color, I have to think about that question. I've had to think about that question ever since I was a young person and they've never had to. It's interesting.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Don Lemon, thank you very much. It was a fantastic back and forth of questioning there.

And Marc, you know, during that, you were saying when Bernie Sanders says, "When you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto."

HILL: Yeah.

BURNETT: And you keep, every time, taking a deep breath when you hear that.

HILL: It's cringeable. I have to assume that Bernie just got caught up in the moment and overstated his point. Surely he knows, particularly if someone who talks what economic deprivation for the entire nation, that white people live in ghettos. The term ghetto itself emerges out of European ethnic minorities in America.

BASH: Absolutely. He's a Polish descent.

HILL: Exactly, so he has to know that. I'm going to give Bernie a pass there. I think he knows it. But it's still a bizarre comment. It lacks nuance. Even the point about not knowing what it's like to be harassed. Sure, as a white person, you may not. But there are plenty of folk, LGBT people for example, immigrants for example, who have to deal with harassment on the street by law enforcement and other forms of state violence.

So I didn't love the answer. They both essentially said, I don't know what it's like to be black and being black is really bad. They've got to give better answer.

BURNETT: Bakari, your takeaway when we were sitting in the room was, you know, a little bit of a cringe too, but you thought they emerged unscathed.

SELLERS: I think they both emerged unscathed. And I, too, and I'm one of Bernie Sanders' harshest critics especially when he talks about race because he has a hard time talking about the intersectionality and pivoting away from Wall Street.

But tonight, I thought both of them have come extremely long way. And although Don didn't quite go there, what you do see whether or not you like them as a group or not is the influence and role that young black activists have had on this election.

[23:29:59] You know, black lives matter and their impact in this race cannot be denied as the same way occupy Wall Street and talking about income inequality. I mean, these strands of activism, organized activism in the Democratic Party are pushing the dialogue in the debate and it makes it healthy.

For me, personally, I would love to see them always get better. But to have two 70-year-old white people running for president of the United States, they're talking about issues that directly affect me?

BURNETT: Yes, interesting point.

SELLERS: I'm cool with it.

KOHN: I mean, it would be really nice to hear the Republicans not even address those questions. That would actually be entertaining. It would actually be nice just to hear the Republican candidates in the next debate have to address whether they believe there even still is racial bias in America. Whether they believe it is harder on average for African-American children in this country to achieve what white children in this country can achieve. I think America would be surprised to hear their answers.


GERGEN: I'd like to rise to their defense. Hillary Clinton, I've known Hillary Clinton a long time. She has spent years and years caring about issues. A lot of what she cares about with women and children relates to race. And Bernie Sanders, I don't know his full record, but he was arrested back then. He was involved as a young person.

These people do care about race. And to suggest this is the first time they've ever thought about this, white people who care about race are struggling how to talk about it in a way that's respectful. You're walking through mine fields, you know, so he meant to say black neighborhoods. But let's be -- I think we should be charitable to people who are on the right side of the issue, who are struggling to find the right language to express it, and to have a real conversation.

BURNETT: Which I think, I think we were trying to be.

Marc, I want to -- the other -- of course, Donald Trump came up. Now, what was interesting, I think, all of you we were talking about, he didn't come up the way you would have thought. He wasn't the third debater, the elephant in the room in any way, shape or form. There was one time where Bernie Sanders said it's huge. A joke he makes to refer to Donald Trump. And then that they were asked about Donald Trump specifically and that's on the other time he came up. Here is what they had to say about him.


CLINTON: I am building a broad, diverse coalition across our country. I think that Donald Trump's bigotry, his bullying, his bluster are not going to wear well on the American people.

And so, I will look forward, I will look forward to engaging him because, you know, I don't think we need to make America great again. America didn't stop being great. We have to make it whole again. We have to knock down the barriers. We have to end the divisiveness. We have to unify the country.

SANDERS: I would love to run against Donald Trump. And I'll tell you why. For a start, what almost, not all, but almost every poll has shown is that Sanders versus Trump does a lot better than Clinton versus Trump. And the other reason I think we can beat Trump is that our campaign is generating an enormous amount of excitement.


BURNETT: Kayleigh, that is one thing that is fascinating here, which is that when you look at the excitement, the passion, the number of people at rallies, the movement, the word movement used to describe a campaign, that is something that Sanders and Trump have in common.

MCENANY: Absolutely, and which is why you see Sanders doing so well against Trump. I think that's because, believe it or not, a lot of Sanders voters will strongly consider Trump in the event that it's Hillary Clinton. He appeals to a lot of blue collar workers. He puts states like Michigan into play. This is a big point. He's been against trade where Hillary Clinton was for NAFTA when her husband did it. She was for TPP before she was against it. These are really important issues to the Sanders space which is why I think he does well against Trump in the general election, and Hillary is not as much.

BURNETT: OK, interesting point, Sally, because you do -- when you talk about especially a trade agreement, you do have Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump very much on the same side.

KOHN: Thoroughly. Listen, I was excited at the beginning of this race. I though, OK, instead of having this sort of left and right divide, maybe we can finally have a sort of populous versus elite re- realignment in the country. And that is the one thread that connects Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The problem is that I think the opposite direction is more likely that I think, say, Trump voters who might say, "Oh, you know, I really like where he is on economics. I like what he says when he says he's going, you know, raise taxes on the rich. But oh, his economic plan isn't going to do that." But hey, this Sanders guy, I like what he's talking about and he doesn't have all the baggage of, say, you know this sort of anti-immigrant, ugly nationalist, anti-Muslim strain.

BASH: But you know what? Just having been out on the campaign trail and I've been to rallies of both of them, the common thread isn't just populism. And that is certainly one of them. And it is really illustrated in a state like Michigan where there are so many people who are still hurting big time, and they blame free trade for that.

But it's also just being a regular politician and not being a regular politician. That Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump say, I'm not going to be beholden to billionaires. I'm going to be able to do my own thing because I'm not going to listen to the people who really pull strings behind the scenes, the lobbyists, the donors, and so on and so forth. That is, I mean, especially at a Trump rally.

[23:35:07] The number one thing, he's not a politician. He's not going to have to listen to anybody. He's going to do with his own thing. I mean, that is something that is absolutely one of the key characteristics of Donald Trump though, make people love him and same for Bernie Sanders.

HILL: And it terrifies me because Donald Trump isn't bound by ideology. There's no set of core beliefs or world view I think that binds Donald Trump. And at this moment, it feels like it's purely narcissism and ego. And as a result, he ships aren't at a principle for good advice. It's simply business what works. It becomes a thermometer rather than a thermostat. He becomes someone who simply tries to reflect these sentiment of the people.

And one more quick thing, I wouldn't connect Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. They both have populous economic visions. But Donald Trump still believes in free market fundamentalism. He still believes in privatization. He still believes in market based ...


HILL: ... so that's the opposite of Bernie Sanders.

BURNET: All right. Well, you know, one things is, and for anyone who is watching the "Race for the White House, just a few moments ago. You know, you're reflecting on a religion and how significant it was in that race. When you heard, you know, Kennedy's father said, "There's no way he could be elected as a Catholic." You know, religion came up tonight and you heard Bernie Sanders talk about his Jewish faith and what I think everyone was saying. So, the first time we've heard him talk about it and exactly this way.

Here's what they had to say about their faith tonight.


SANDERS: I am very proud to be Jewish and being Jewish is so much of what I am. Look, my father's family was wiped out by Hitler in the holocaust. I know about what crazy and radical and extremist politics mean. I learned that lesson as a tiny, tiny child when my mother would take me shopping and we would see people working in stores who had numbers on their arms because they were in Hitler's concentration camp. I am very proud of being Jewish and that is an essential part of who I am as a human being.

CLINTON: I pray very specifically for people whom I know by name, people who either have gone through or are experiencing difficult times, illness, divorce, death, disappointment, all of the life experiences that confront most of us. I pray for the will of God to be known so that we can know it, and to the best of our limited ability, try to follow it and fulfill it.

I have said many times that, you know, I am a praying person. And if I hadn't been during the time I was in the White House, I would have become one because it's very hard to imagine living under that kind of pressure without being able to fall back on prayer and on my faith.


KOHN: Yes.

BURNETT: Bernie Sanders, you know, we were talking about someone, you know, then was saying, wait, did he always says that he's not religious in the way he talks. But what he said here obviously was no, being Jewish is a core part of who he is.

KOHN: Well, you know, there's this old joke, I'm not a Jew, I'm Jew- ish. I mean, Bernie Sanders sort of speaks to my understanding of Judaism. And I've actually talked to a lot of young Jews who feel similarly that there's a, you know, historically maybe it was Lieberman or the sort of more conservative religious and conservative strain of Judaism that was represented in public life. And it's nice to see someone from the social justice, more secular wing of the Jewish faith, and, you know, that certainly speaks to me. It's one of the things that appeals to me most and I'm glad he embraced it.

BURNETT: Kayleigh, Donald Trump supporter, you want to comment on Hillary Clinton on her answer?

MCENANY: Yeah, I thought that came of very authentic and to hear her talk so personally about her faith and how important prayer is in her life. You often hear Republican candidates talk about this and I found it so refreshing. It personalized Hillary Clinton for me in a way I hadn't seen her before. And to see her say, I couldn't be in the White House without having prayer in my life. I thought that that was a huge moment. And as a Republican watching, I was silently clapping for her in that moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to sign her up.



BURNETT: All right, more of our special coverage of tonight's Democratic presidential debate, lots of numbers, claims and charges thrown around in the aggressive sparring by Clinton and Sanders. When we come back, we're going to separate fact from fiction.


[23:43:25] BURNETT: CNN's reality check pins about tonight's debate, checking Clinton and Sanders statements on everything from guns to trade. There were a lot of allegations.

So, Tom Foreman went and checked them. And now, it is time to hold their feet to the fire. Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Erin. There are so many allegations, aren't there? Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton over the issue of trade and how it's affected American workers.


SANDERS: NAFTA supported by the Secretary cost us 800,000 jobs nationwide, tens of thousands of jobs in the mid-west. Permanent normal trade relations with China cost us millions of jobs.

FOREMAN: NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement went into place in 1994. On 1996, Clinton was saying that it was proving its worth. And now, she later changed her stance on that, saying that NAFTA was not working out as hoped by 2008, but its basic claim there that she supported NAFTA, thought it was a good idea.

Yeah, he's absolutely right about that. That is true. But, what about this whopping number that it cost 800,000 jobs. There have been many different groups that have tried to analyze the impact of this trade deal and many others. Sometimes they say it has produced hundreds of thousands of job, sometimes they say it has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. But there is no widespread agreements that jobbery (ph) around this number of 800,000 jobs for him to talk as if there is. His statement is simply false about that.

Now, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both were asked about gun violence. And she threw out a number that she's thrown out before. Listen.


CLINTON: You know, on average, 90 people a day are killed by gun violence in our country.


[23:45:02] FOREMAN: The Centers for Disease Control say that is true. Back in 2014, on the last year's, we had numbers for 92 people per day, in fact, were killed that way. That adds up to about 34,000 per year.

But, at this point in this discussion, they were talking specifically about homicidal violence, people going and killing someone else. What she did not mention, that out of this number, two-thirds of these are suicides. Those are very important. They are violent. This is a serious issue. We're not diminishing this at all.

But if you're talking about homicide and you don't mention it while throwing a number around like this, we're going to have to say that what she said was true but it was also misleading.

If you want to find out more about all the many things, our great reality check team looked into, go to Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you very much. And David, I'm curious, on the issue -- let's start with trade, look at the first fact check there. And I know numbers on NAFTA jobs are sort of all over the map.

But when it comes to trade, Bernie Sanders is against all these free trade deals. Donald trump is against these free trade deals. Hillary Clinton, of course, supported them. And the Trans-Pacific Partnership, aggressively so, at least 40 times, at one time, a couple years ago, I believe she called it the gold standard of trade agreements.

Is it going to hurt her that she is now so adamantly against free trade?

GERGEN: I think if you go back to Tom's point earlier, there's a lot of politics on how she flipped her position on Trans-Pacific.

You know, she's clearly is doing it for political reasons and I don't know where she'll come out eventually. But I do want to go back and say one thing about NAFTA.

I was there in the White House when we were pushing NAFTA. Hillary was actually really opposed to it privately. And again, absolutely (ph) government. She was not happy about going forward with NAFTA.

In part, she felt it was the interfering with her whole effort to get health care passed. But there was a lot of internal debate and she was not happy about it. And we're going to have to have a long conversation and open this campaign about free trade.

You know, most economists ...

BASH: Was she worried about how it affected the American worker?

GERGEN: Yes, she wasn't confident about NAFTA at all. I mean, you know, she went along with it, because she want to be ...

BURNETT: But you're saying it was health care. I mean, it was sort of -- was that that she had a different agenda to pursue, or what did the ...

GERGEN: She sure had a different agenda, but she just -- it just wasn't why she thought they came to the White House. It just wasn't part of what she was trying to push. He inherited from George H. W. Bush.

The Bush can basically negotiate it. He was the only president who could have gotten it through, frankly. Bush didn't get it through.

BURNETT: But Dana, you know, when you look at Barack Obama, he's pushed through a lot of free trades, yes. You know, South Korea is the biggest free trade deal of this country has done since NAFTA. That is Barack Obama's achievement. She said she wants to continue what Barack Obama has done. She's now running on his legacy. That makes it more difficult.

BASH: Look, a lot of -- I'm not excusing any of it, but you know, because you were there and you have been through this, these things are incredibly complicated. She argues now that the trade deal that she thought was going to end up being in effect or that they were going to do back when she was at the state department changed. And so, she doesn't support it now. But look, the bottom line is that trade is one of those issues that can join a Barack Obama and a Paul Ryan who work together on that issue.


BASH: Oh my goodness, they actually really did.


BASH: And it can join the populous Republican and the, you know, the populous Democrat. So, it is very much not along party lines, traditional party lines.

BURNETT: And one final moment I want to play which is Bernie Sanders' perhaps most aggressive take on Hillary Clinton. Something he's done before but he did aggressively again tonight. Here he is.


CLINTON: And I have said and I will say again, I'll be happy to release anything I have as long as everybody else does too.

SANDERS: Well, I'm your Democratic opponent. I release it. Here it is. There isn't nothing. I don't give speeches for Wall Street for hundreds of thousands dollars (ph). You got it.


BURNETT: Bakari, as a Hillary Clinton supporter, why?


BURNETT: Why not release them?

SELLERS: Oh, I never asked like why, what? No, I think that the way she's framing the answer to the question is she wants to be treated the same as every single candidate that's out there. And whether or not that stands ...

BURNETT: But, who else has a bunch of speeches to Wall Street?

SELLERS: If that stands the test of time, if that stands the test of time then so be it. I know one of the Wall Street -- that Washington Post post that article on one of her speeches that she gave to Wall Street talking about women and leadership, and how it's an empowering thing to have more women and leadership and diversity.

And so, I think as we get through this process, what Hillary Clinton's point is in saying this is, is that Wall Street is not dictating my policy points.



HILL: I mean it seems disingenuous.

BURNETT: I mean if it's not women and that's so harmless, why not?

HILL: It seemed disingenuous to say, I'm not going to release it until the Republicans, we both concede, are already friends of Wall Street to release this. She's just saying, I'm not going to do what Donald Trump does.


HILL: Why is it the measure of our ethical and moral standard? If your opponent is doing it, you do it.

GERGEN: You're right and there's nobody else who gives $200,000 speeches in the race.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And including Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Including Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...depending on who it is, I mean me and Marc are here, I mean.

[23:50:01] BURNETT: All right, well ...


BURNETT: Thank you all very much for being with us tonight. We appreciate it. And thank you all for joining us. We'll see you tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern.

In case you missed any of CNN's Democratic presidential debate, you can watch it because it re-airs next right here on CNN.