2015 Democratic Debate: Here Are Bernie Sanders' and Hillary Clinton's Best Moments


Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were both fierce competitors during their debut face-off at the first Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday.

The two engaged in a tense exchange on gun control and big banks, but they also found common ground. At one point, Sanders even backed his opponent while CNN moderator Anderson Cooper grilled the former secretary of state about her recent email scandal. The two then shared a handshake:

Which of the two candidates won the debate depends on who you ask, but both reveled in several standout moments. Here are Sanders' and Clinton's best bits from Tuesday's debate:


"Damn emails": This one was arguably a highlight for Clinton as well, but Sanders orchestrated it. While Cooper grilled Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state, Sanders threw her a lifeline that earned him roaring applause and a "thank you" from Clinton.

"Let me say something that may not be great politics, but the Secretary is right," he said. "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!

"Enough of the emails, let's talk about the real issues facing the United States of America."


Education over incarceration: Sanders made a powerful point about what the U.S. could do with the money saved through criminal justice reform. 

"It seems to me that instead of building more jails and providing more incarceration," he suggested, "maybe, just maybe, we should be putting money into education and jobs for our kids." 

"Wall Street regulates Congress": Sanders backed up Clinton on her email scandal, but the self-described democratic socialist couldn't stand by while she claimed that she would "give regulators the ability to go after the big banks" on Wall Street, whose corruption he blames for the 2008 financial crisis.

"In my view, Secretary Clinton, you do not — Congress does not regulate Wall Street," he said. "Wall Street regulates Congress."


"I'm a progressive, but...": In response to Cooper's inquiry as to whether or not Clinton is a progressive, Clinton said, "I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done." 

This earned her a solid round of applause, which she interrupted by adding, "I know how to find common ground, and I know how to stand my ground, and I have proved that in every position that I've had, even dealing with Republicans who never had a good word to say about me, honestly."

"No": Clinton earned some of her loudest applause of the night by simply refraining from responding to opponent and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee's skepticism of her ethical standards after the email scandal.

Chafee: "I think we need somebody with the best and ethical standards as our next president. That's how I feel," 

Cooper: "Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?" 

Clinton: "No."

Moving on.

Capitalism: Defending capitalism is a tough proposition while standing next to Sanders, who argued that the country's economic system is designed for the 1%, but Clinton did so sharply. 

"I don't think we should confuse what we have to do every so often in America, which is save capitalism from itself," she said. "But we would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world."

Ninety people each day: Clinton called out Sanders' confusing gun control policy in what escalated into an intense debate between the two top candidates. While insisting that Sanders isn't strict enough on guns, she dished out statistics to make a strong case.

"I think we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence," Clinton said. "This has gone on too long and it's time the entire country stood up against the NRA."