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Sanders, Clinton speak at Democratic town hall at Ohio State

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was the first Democratic presidential candidate to respond to audience questions at CNN's Democratic town hall on March 13 at Ohio State's Mershon Auditorium. He was asked a variety of questions regarding topics such as his plan against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his plan for international trade deals. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders responds to a question about federal drug policy at CNN's Democratic town hall on March 13 at Ohio State's Mershon Auditorium. The Vermont senator said America should treat the war on drugs as a mental health issue rather than a criminal one. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, sits down with CNN's Jake Tapper after answering questions from the Democratic town hall's audience on March 13 in Ohio State's Mershon Auditorium. Tapper asked Sanders more about his personal life, launching questions about the senator's circle of friends. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the second Democratic presidential candidate to take the stage at CNN's Democratic town hall on March 13 at the Mershon Auditorium. CNN's Jake Tapper started her segment by asking her about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's views on violence at political rallies. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief
Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton fields a question at the CNN Democratic town hall on March 13 at Ohio State's Mershon Auditorium. She was asked a variety of questions, ranging from fracking to prison reform. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton responds to another question posed to her by an audience member at CNN's Democratic town hall on March 13 at Ohio State's Mershon Auditorium. Clinton said she will work toward lowering the cost of health care in America, especially the costs of prescription medicines. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief


Two days before five states, including Ohio, are set to cast their primary ballots, Democratic presidential candidates took the stage at Ohio State’s Mershon Auditorium for a town hall hosted by CNN and TV One on Sunday night.

CNN’s Jake Tapper and TV One’s Roland Martin moderated the event. Questions came from the anchors as well as audience members.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was the first candidate to take the stage, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared in the second hour. Tapper’s first question to both Sanders and Clinton dealt with the violence at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent rallies.

When asked about Trump blaming Sanders’ supporters for the violence at Trump’s recent rallies, Sanders said, “Donald Trump is a pathological liar.”

Sanders also noted that while he can’t be held responsible for everything every one of his supporters does, he would never encourage violent behavior from his supporters.

“I never have and never will condone violence,” he said.

When the the topic was brought up to Clinton, she said Trump incited violence by telling his supporters he would pay their legal expenses if they got into fights with protesters.

“There’s just so much of what he’s doing that I think we all have to reject,” she said. “What Trump has done is like a case of political arson.”

Clinton compared the businessman’s response to violence at his rally as him starting a fire but throwing his hands up and not claiming responsibility.

Both candidates also received questions from an audience member about who would be the best candidate to go up against Trump and about specifics of their anti-Trump strategy.

Sanders pointed to the polls for the answer, saying many indicate that he does better against Trump by a larger margin than Clinton.

When asked the same question by radiologist Amit Majmudar of Dublin, Ohio, who said he is a son of immigrant parents, Clinton pointed to her experience going up against Republicans.

She said the Republicans have been after her for 25 years.

“There isn’t anything that they haven’t already said to me,” Clinton said, adding that she believes this will help her in what she thinks will be the “highest-stakes election.”

One question posed to Sanders from the audience came from Charles Noble, a program director for My Brother’s Keeper. Noble asked Sanders how he would ensure that international trade deals promote U.S. job growth in minority, rural and impoverished areas.

Sanders emphasized that he would work to make sure the U.S. is successful in trade while also making sure trade policies fit all citizens.

“We will develop an entirely new set of trade policies not written by corporate America for corporate America,” Sanders said.

Crystal Oertle, an audience member who is in recovery for heroin addiction, brought up the issue of drug policies.

“What we have to do is fundamentally rethink the so-called ‘war on drugs,’” Sanders said in response.

Sanders called for looking at substance abuse as a mental health issue, not a criminal issue.

Clinton faced a question from audience member Teresa O’Donnell, who said she wants to vote Democrat but doesn’t know if she can because of rising costs she said she’s faced as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

“I want very much to get the cost down, and that is going to be my mission,” Clinton said.

Clinton said she believes the Affordable Care Act has done a lot of “really good things,” such as reducing costs in most cases and guaranteeing insurance. However, she said she wants to work to reduce cost for everyone if elected president.

Tapper introduced a question by an anti-fracking activist, Christine Hughes, about Ohio not allowing fracking bans and how to handle farmers’ and communities’ concerns.

Clinton said she will do everything she can to regulate it, but she said promising to get rid of it completely would be unrealistic.

“We need much more scientific research,” she said. Clinton added that though researchers know of a few problems associated with fracking now, they need to be sure of everything in the future to make sure they don’t allow it going forward.

The town hall was one of several presidential candidate appearances that took place in Columbus on Sunday. Earlier in the evening, Sanders held a rally at the Schottenstein Center. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz also held a rally Sunday evening at the Northland Performing Arts Center.


  1. The battle plan against Hillary will be the an unrelenting relitigation of all the scandals cooked up by the “vast, right-wing conspiracy” that she identified nearly two decades ago, even when it’s charges turned out to be true (e.g. she called Monica Lewinsky a fabrication by the vast right-wing conspiracy and never apologized for getting it wrong as well).

    Whitewater, Travelgate, Troopergate, Lewinskygate, with a little Vince Foster Murdergate, for a dash of blood. But wait—those are just the golden oldies! You’ll also be hearing about the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Pardons. The new material? Benghazi, the private email server hacked by our enemies leading to the Benghazi deaths, the $250,000 Wall Street speeches she won’t release?

    Every one of these attacks are well-deserved and amplified by the very media — the mainstream media — which the Democrats have in it’s pocket, or what we used to call journalism.

    Free trade pacts are wildly unpopular with many Americans. Trump has been full-throated in his condemnation of free trade, and it has been one of his most successful pitches. Hillary will get hammered on this. He’ll excoriate various forms of crony capitalism (deals cut with big pharma, bogus military contracts, etc.) that Democrats such as Hillary either endorsed or enabled. She’ll be deservedly blasted for backing our trillion-dollar Iraq War, and said she backed it”for my own reasons” (unrelated to WMD).

    Hillary is business as usual in Washington, another career politician beholden to the donor class and to the Wall Street swells who paid her millions to deliver her secret speeches.

    Republicans recognize the toxic nature of the status quo and will bring it down. Once you realize Hillary won’t, it explains why 46,000 Pennsylvanian Democrats switched to Republican during the recent primary election, and why 20,000 voters in Massachusetts did as well.

  2. I’m voting for Hillary. We have given all types of men a chance to run things, and they have all made huge mistakes: Catholic, white, black, Southern, no experience, liar, unintelligent, average, business-oriented, faith-oriented, conservative, liberal, naricissistic, and warmongering–and these are just the presidents we’ve had since Kennedy. I would like to give a woman a chance, finally. In short, it comes down to this for me. In my experience, grandmas do a better job than anybody, and they know a whole hell of a lot more, too. Once men become old, all they do is complain–grandmas do all the work. Let Grandma Hillary get the work done.

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