Paris Attacks Dominate Democratic Debate Opening Remarks

The second Democratic debate opened somberly with moderator John Dickerson calling for the world’s shortest moment of silence after telling viewers, “the debate you’ve tuned into is a symbol of the freedom we cherish. Last night the world watched  in horror as freedom was savagely attacked.” After that, three candidates dove in with opening statements addressing last night’s attacks that killed at least 120 and injured at least 300, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.

“Let me concur with all Americans are shocked and disgusted by what we saw in Paris yesterday,” Bernie Sanders said. The country should lead the world to “rid this planet of this barbarous organization known as ISIS.” Then he switched the subject, and spoke of the country’s “rigged economy” and political financing process. “What my campaign is about is a political revolution.”

Hillary Clinton said the nation’s prayers are “with the people of France tonight…but it is not enough. We need to have resolve that will bring the world together to root out the kind of radical jihadist ideology that motivates groups like ISIS….This election is not only about electing a president, it’s also about choosing our next commander in chief.”

Martin O’Malley opened saying his heart, “like all of those in this room go out to people France in this moment of loss.” ISIS demonstrated last night the “new face of conflict and warfare,” he said. “We must be able to work collaboratively with others, must anticipate these threats before they happen” which, he said, “does require new thinking, new leadership.”

Shortly before the debate started, moderator John Dickerson said, on a 48 Hours special about the Paris attacks, that presidential election cycle debates help give us a view of candidates as they “might act as president” and tonight’s debate ever more so because of yesterday’s “fresh crisis.” Viewers will be looking for the candidates to “explain how it’s going to get better,” he said.


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