Hillary Clinton Embraces Obama Legacy, as Bernie Sanders Aims for Democrats’ Hearts

Clinton used President Obama and his legacy to play defense and offense tonight.

“We’ve accomplished so much already. I do not want to see the Republicans repeal it, and I don’t want to start over again with a contentious debate,” Clinton said. “To tear it up and start over again, pushing our country back into that kind of a contentious debate, I think is the wrong direction.”

Sanders called it a “disingenuous” attack. He made clear, as he did throughout the night, that he’s not satisfied with the status quo.

“No one is tearing this up. We're going to go forward,” Sanders said.

In talking about big banks, Sanders offered this swipe at Clinton to make his point about corruption he views as systemic: “I don’t get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.”

Clinton defended not just herself but Obama, making a broad point that governing is complicated, and much harder than campaigning.

Underscoring Clinton’s vulnerability on the topic, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley jumped in to point out her “cozy relationship with Wall Street.”

It’s been said that the central tension of the Democratic race is Clinton running against herself. Given how closely she’s linked to the last two Democratic presidents, at a time of deep turmoil in the party and the country, that appears unlikely to change, despite her efforts to intensify scrutiny on Sanders.

Said Clinton: “I want to raise incomes, not taxes.”

Central to the case Clinton is making now is electability, as she portrays herself as pragmatic and experienced. But Sanders’ calls for a political revolution are clearly resonating with voters.

Democrats have a history of listening to appeals to the heart more than the head. Asked why Sanders’ message is resonating as it is with young people – many of the types of voters who powered Obama’s rise -- Clinton didn’t have a great response.

“I hope to have their support when I'm the Democratic nominee,” she said.