Hillary Clinton bristled at Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate when she was questioned about her use of a private email server and shrugged off her defeat to Bernie Sanders in the Michigan primary.
Moderator Jorge Ramos pressed Clinton on whether she would drop out of the presidential race if she is indicted for using private email when running the State Department.
“Oh for goodness, that is not going to happen,” Clinton said at the Univision debate in Miami that is being simulcast on CNN. “I’m not even going to answer that question.”
She also sought to downplay the impact of her surprise loss Tuesday to Sanders in Michigan.
“It was a very close race. I have won some, I have lost some,” Clinton said.
She added that with her win in Mississippi, she won 100,000 votes more than Sanders on Tuesday and that she built her lead in the delegate race.
Sanders, however, said he pulled off what “some people considered one of the major political upsets in modern American history” in Michigan, which he said proved that Americans backed his effort to stand up to Wall Street. He said that his win could also sway super delegates to conclude that he was the best Democratic candidate to take on Republican front-runner Donald Trump in a general election.
The tone at the opening of the debate underscored how Clinton is on defense after her Michigan loss raised questions about her campaign strategy. The showdown comes less than a week before crucial Democratic primaries in big, delegate-heavy states that include Florida, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina. Before Tuesday, Clinton was expected to cruise through those races and put decisive distance between herself and the Vermont senator in the delegate race.
The Univision debate follows a testy faceoff between the rivals in Flint, Michigan, at a CNN debate on Sunday night. That showdown was punctuated by impatient complaints by Sanders that Clinton was talking over him.
Clinton had a 2-1 lead over Sanders in a Washington Post/Univision Poll last month among Latino voters. And in the Texas primary last week, 71% of Latino voters voted for Clinton, who has vowed to aggressively push immigration reform in her first term as president and to extend President Barack Obama’s executive orders shielding some undocumented migrants from deportation.
Sanders has said he would take a similar stance on the executive orders and backs comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship.
At a Democratic debate in February on MSNBC, however, Clinton hammered Sanders for opposing a bipartisan comprehensive effort to reform the immigration system during the George W. Bush administration.
“I don’t think it was progressive to vote against Ted Kennedy’s immigration reform,” she said.
Sanders said he voted against the bill because it included big increases in a guest-worker program that he says undercuts American workers by importing cheap labor and leaves those who come into the country at the mercy of unscrupulous employers.