Second Democratic Debate: The Best Lines

Clinton and O'Malley at odds on U.S. response to ISIS.

ByABC News
November 14, 2015, 11:30 PM
 Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin OMalley pause for a moment of silence, for the victims of the Paris terrorists attacks, before the start of the second Democratic presidential primary debate on Nov. 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin OMalley pause for a moment of silence, for the victims of the Paris terrorists attacks, before the start of the second Democratic presidential primary debate on Nov. 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

— -- In light of the attacks in Paris on Friday night, the Democratic debate hosted by CBS News in Des Moines, Iowa, focused on national security and foreign policy.

Candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley began the debate with a moment of silence in the debate hall at Drake University.

Here are the best lines of the night:


Clinton: “But this cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential.”

O’Malley responded to Clinton: “I would disagree with Secretary Clinton, respectfully, on this score. This actually is America’s fight. It cannot be solely America’s fight.”

Sanders: “Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. … I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al Qaeda and to ISIS.”


Sanders: “I think we have a disagreement, and the disagreement is that not only did I vote against the war in Iraq. If you look at history, you will find that regime change, whether it was in the early ‘50s in Iran… whether it was overthrowing the government of Guatemala way back when, these invasions, these toppling of governments, regime changes have unintended consequences.”

O’Malley: “Secretary Clinton also said we - it was not just the invasion of Iraq which Secretary Clinton voted for and has since said was a big mistake -- and, indeed, it was.”


Clinton: "It is imperative that we do more not only to help our friends and partners protect themselves and protect our own homeland, but also to work to try to deal with this arc of instability, which does have a lot of impact on what happens in a country like Libya."

O'Malley: "The world is not too dangerous a place for United States of America provided we act according to our principles, providing we act intelligently."


Clinton: “That was one of the real contributions despite all the other problems that George W. Bush made after 9/11 when he basically said after going to a mosque in Washington, we are not at war with Islam or Muslims. We are at war with violent extremism.”

Sanders: "I don't think the term is what's important. What is important to understand is we have organizations, whether it is ISIS or Al Qaeda ... American leadership, can and must come together to destroy them. We can do that."


Sanders: “I think we need major reform in the military, making it more cost effective, but also focusing on the real crisis that faces us.”


Sanders: “I believe United States has the moral responsibility with Europe, with gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, to make sure that when people leave countries like Afghanistan and Syria with nothing more than the clothing on their back that, of course, we reach out. Now, what the magic number is, I don’t know because we don’t know the extent of the problem.”

O’Malley: “I was the first person on this stage to say that we should accept the 65,000 Syrian refugees that were fleeing the sort of murder of ISIL [ISIS], and I believe that that needs to be done with proper screening.”

Clinton: “I also said that we should take increased numbers of refugees. The administration originally said 10 [thousand]. I said we should go to 65 [thousand], but only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine, whatever resources it takes. I do not want us to in any way inadvertently allow people who wish us harm to come into our country.”


Clinton: “Well, first of all, it isn’t the middle class; I have made it very clear that hard-working middle-class families need a raise not a tax increase. In fact, wages adjusting for inflation haven’t risen since the turn of the last century after my husband’s administration, so we have a lot of work to do.”

O’Malley: “We did ask everyone -- the top 14 percent of earners in our state to pay more in their income tax and we were the only state to go four years in a row without a penny's increase to college tuition. So while other candidates will talk about the things they would like to do. I actually got these things done in a state that defended not only a bond rating but the highest median income in America.”

Sanders: “We bailed out Wall Street. It's their time to bail out the middle class. ... We haven't come up with an exact number yet but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower. ... I'm not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower."


Sanders: “I want to end the international embarrassment of the United States of America being the only major country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege.”

Clinton: "I think as Democrats we ought to proudly support the affordable care act, improve it, and make it the model that we know it can be."


O’Malley: “The fact of the matter is – and let’s say it in our debate because you’ll never hear this from that immigration-bashing carnival barker Donald Trump. The truth of the matter is net immigration from Mexico last year was zero. Fact check me.… Our symbol is the Statue of Liberty. It is not a barbed-wire fence.”

Clinton: “Let’s move toward what we should be doing as a nation and follow the values of our immigration history and begin to make it possible for them to come out of the shadows and to have a future that gives them a full chance of citizenship.”


Sanders: “We have go to move the minimum wage to a living wage, 15 bucks an hour. And I apologize to nobody for that.”

O’Malley: “The more our people earn, the more money they spend, and the more our whole economy grows.”

Clinton: “I support a $12 national federal minimum wage. That is what the Democrats in the senate have put forward as a proposal. But I do believe that is a minimum. If you go to 12 it would be the highest historical average we have ever had now.”


Clinton: “I want to look at the whole problem and that’s why my proposal is much more comprehensive than anything put forth.”

Sanders in response: “Not good enough.”

Sanders: “Here is the major issue when we talk about Wall Street – it ain’t complicated. ... Wall Street today has enormous economic and political power. Their business model is greed and fraud. And for the sake of our economy, the major banks must be broken up. ... I am running a campaign differently than any other candidate. We are relying on small campaign donors, 750,000 of them, 30 bucks a piece. That's who I'm indebted to.”

Clinton in response: "Oh, wait a minute, senator. You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small and I'm very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent."


Clinton: “Since we last debated in Las Vegas, nearly 3,000 people have been killed by guns ... 200 children have been killed. This is an emergency.”

Sanders: “I have voted time and again to-- for the background check, and I want to see it improved and expanded. We have to do away with the straw-man proposal. We need radical changes in mental health in America.”

O’Malley: “But Secretary Clinton, you’ve been on three sides of this. When you ran in 2000 you said we needed federal robust regulations. Then, in 2008, you were portraying yourself as Annie Oakley and saying we don’t need those regulations on the federal level and now you’re coming back around here. There’s a big difference between leading by polls and leading with principle.”


Sanders: “We have more people in jail today than any other country on Earth. We’re spending $80 billion locking people up disproportionately Latino and African American. We need, very clearly, major, major reform in a broken criminal justice system.”

Clinton: “But what happened at the university there [University of Missouri], what’s happening at other universities, I think reflects the deep sense of, you know, concern, even despair that so many young people, particularly of color, have.”


Sanders: “I want kids in Burlington, Vermont or Baltimore, Maryland, who are in the sixth grade or the eighth grade, who don't have a lot of money, whose parents-- like my parents-- may never have gone to college. I want those kids to know if they study hard, they do their homework, regardless of the income of their families, they will in fact be able to get a college education because we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free.”

O’Malley: “My daughters went to college on a mountain of bills. We were proud of them on graduation day, but we’re going to be proud every month for the rest of our natural lives. It doesn’t need to be that way. We can have debt-free college in the United States.”

Clinton: “I don’t think taxpayers should be paying to send Donald Trump’s kids to college. I think it ought to be a compact, families contribute, kids contribute.”