Democrats Debate What Should Take Priority: Ousting Assad or Fighting ISIS?

The Democratic candidates argue their points at the ABC News Democratic presidential debate.
6:19 | 12/20/15

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Transcript for Democrats Debate What Should Take Priority: Ousting Assad or Fighting ISIS?
I'm going to ask the secretary here because it does appear to be some daylight here between the policies at least in respect to when you take out Syrian president or Charlotte's not right now. Or do you wait to tackle places first you have said Secretary Clinton that you come to the conclusion that we have to proceed on both fronts at once. We heard from the senator just this week that we must put aside the issue of how quickly we get rid of aside. And come together with countries including Russia and Iran to destroy nicest first is he wrong. I think we're missing the point here we are doing both at the same time that's what he's saying he's we should put that aside for now I'm going well I don't agree with that because we will not get the support on the ground in Syria. To dislodge. Ices it's the fighters there who are not associated with vices but whose principal goal is getting rid of a side. Don't believe there is a political diplomatic. Channel that is ongoing we now have that. We have the UN Security Council adopting a resolution that lays out a transition path. It's very important we operate on both at the same time and let me just say a word about coalition building because I've heard senator Sanders say this. I know how hard it is to build coalitions. I think it would be a grave mistake to ask for any more air Ronnie and troops inside Syria. That is like asking the arsonist to comment pour more gas on the fire. The Iranians getting more of a presence in Syria linking with his a lot their proxy in Lebanon. Which threaten Israel and would make it more difficult for us to move on I passed to have a transition. That at some point we deal with asides futures I I happen they offer. She says we have to proceed on both fronts yeah. It's right this is a complicated issue I don't think anyone has the magical solution but this is what I do believe yes of course the thought it's a terrible dictator. But I think we have got to get off foreign policies. And our priorities right to the immediate it is not a sought. Was attacking the United States. It is license. An crisis is attacking France and attacking Russian airliners. The major priority right now in terms of far and military policy should be the destruction of crisis. And I picked. And I think we're big kick out of that broad coalition including Russia. The help us destroy ices and work on a timetable. To get rid all but sought hopefully through democratic elections first priority destroy us. Senator Sanders and a half for a different generations perspective on this as governor mallet during the Cold War. During the Cold War we got into a bad happen. I'll always looking to see who was wearing the Jersey of the Communists and who was wearing the U pictures. We got into a bad habit. Of creating big bureaucracies. Old methodologies. To undermine regimes that we're not friendly. To the United States look what we did and around. The mosque today. And look at the results that were stealing would still dealing with because of that. I would suggest to you that we need to leave the Cold War behind us. And we need to put together and new alliances and new approaches to dealing with this and we need to restrain ourselves a man and a Secretary Clinton was gleeful. When could DOS he was torn apart. And for in the world debt no doubt as better place without him but look. We didn't know what was happening next and we fell into the same trap with Assad saying that's it that's our job to say a sock Moscow. We have a role to play in this world but we need to lead the Cold War and that sort of antiquated thinking behind criticized that you criticize Secretary Clinton for what came next what's your proposal for what comes after a sought. I believe that we need to focus on destroying ice. That is the clear and present danger. And I believe that we can springboard off of this new UN resolution and we should create a Secretary Clinton that indicated and I agree with that. That there should be a political process but we shouldn't be the ones declaring. But a sock Moscow. Where did it ever say in the constitution. Where's it written that it's the job of the United States of America Ort secretary of state to determine when dictators have to go. We have a role to play in this world but it is not the world but they roll of traveling the world looking for new monsters today destroyed that yeah. Secretary Clinton has handled myself. Did she has been making all kinds of sap. Comments. I think it's fair to say. A soccer has killed by last count about 250000. Syrians. The reason we are in the mess we're in that ice is has the territory it has is because of a side. I advocated. Arming the moderate opposition back in the day when I was still secretary of state because I worry we would end up exactly where we are now. And so when we look at these complex problems I wish it could be either or I wish we could say yes. Let's go destroy ices and let's let aside continue to destroy Syria which creates more terrorists more extremist. By the minute now. We now finally are where we need to be we have a strategy and a commitment. Did go after rice's which is a danger to us as well as the region secretary annaly finally have a UN Security Council resolution. Bringing the world to gather to dull after a political Transocean. Syria does it the United States does not believe there is not another leader there and knocked askew on site and we have to leave are going to. Oh. Senator -- collateral on the United States mostly but the United States is not the policeman of the world. United States must not be involved the perpetual warfare in the Middle East the United States at the same pod. Cannot successfully fight eyes I Assad. Ed crisis. Crisis now is the major priority let's get rid of us thought laid out let's have a democratic Syria but the first task is to breed countries to get up. To destroy ice senator Sanders thing.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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