COLUMBUS, March 13, 2016 — Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threw punches at each other at the final town-hall meeting before Mega Tuesday. The town hall was hosted by CNN at Ohio State University. Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina will hold their primaries on Tuesday, March 15.
Sanders took the stage first. Asked about the increasingly severe violence at rallies hosted by Republican rival Donald Trump—which Trump has blamed on Sanders supporters—the Vermont Senator did not mince words.
“Donald Trump is a pathological liar,” said Sanders to enthusiastic applause. “He’s gonna pay the legal fees of somebody who committed a terrible act of violence. That means that Donald Trump is literally inciting violence for his supporters … That is an outrage, and I would hope that Mr. Trump tones it down, big time, and tells his supporters that violence is not acceptable.”
Clinton also attacked the GOP front-runner in her opening statement. “Trump is trafficking in hate and fear,” she said. “He actually incites violence in the way that he urges his audience on. … We know that has been incredibly bigoted toward so many groups.” She rejected Trump’s claims that the violence at his rallies has been instigated by her supporters or Sanders’.
Sanders took shots at his Democratic opponent, focusing on the issue of trade. Trade has become an issue on both sides of the aisle in the 2016 presidential race. Sanders lashed out at “corporately written trade agreements,” which he said were designed to shut down U.S factories and pay people “pennies an hour” in China and Mexico.
Sanders also took a shot at Trump. “Nobody is talking about building a wall around the United States,” Sanders said, “Oh, I beg your pardon, there is one guy who is talking about building a wall. Let me rephrase it: No rational person is talking about building a wall.”
CNN ended the town-hall by asking the two candidates questions focusing on personal issues. Clinton was questioned on her comment that she’s not a natural politician like her husband or President Obama. “I don’t want to be hired to be a constant candidate, I want to be hired to be the president because I think that I, in this moment in our country’s history, bring the combination of skills and understanding and experience that can be really put to work immediately to do all parts of the job,” she said.
Sanders was asked which ideological opponents he got along with the best, He responded by naming Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe.
Recent polling by the Wall Street Journal and NBC has Clinton leading Sanders in Florida, Ohio and Illinois. She currently has 1,244 delegates, while Senator Sanders has 574 delegates.