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Clinton says she'll go further than Obama on immigration

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 19, 2016 at 10:51 AM

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both said they'll go further than President Barack Obama on the issue of immigration, with Sanders condemning recent deportation raids as "unacceptable."

"It is a top priority," Sanders said of comprehensive immigration reform at the MSNBC Democratic Town Hall in Las Vegas on Thursday night. "We will use our executive office and power," he said, adding that he hopes to have the cooperation on Congress.

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Clinton said she would build on Obama's executive orders on immigration. "I will go further if it's at all legally possible," she said. "I will make this a big political issue."

She said if Democrats gain control of the Senate and White House next year, "Republicans will see the error of their ways" and "stop using immigrants to divide the country."

When it came to each candidates' record on women's rights, both said they considered themselves feminists.

"In fact, Gloria Steinem made me an honorary woman many, many years ago," Sanders said. "I accepted it."

Sanders went on to say that women make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, and that the gap is even wider when it comes to minority women.

"This has nothing to do with economics," he said. "It has everything to do with sexism."

Clinton said her time as Secretary of State made her an ambassador for women's rights, saying she discussed them in every country she visited, with "dictators," "chauvinists" and "misogynists."

"It will be a huge issue for me," she said. "Human rights always has to be at the center of who we are as a nation."

Responding to Clinton's allegation that he is a "single issue candidate," Sanders said: "If she happened to come to one of my rallies -- which she has not yet -- she would hear me speaking for about an hour and half, and we would cover 15 to 20 separate issues."

Clinton slammed Sanders' switch from Independent to Democrat last year. "He wasn't even a Democrat until he decided to run for president," she said to boos from the audience.

While both candidates answered tough questions, it was Clinton who was pressed the most about the issue of trust.

One voter in the audience asked Clinton whether or not she would release the transcripts of her paid speeches to financial institutions. She replied she would release them when every other candidate did the same.

"I was a candidate who went to Wall Street before the crash," she said. "I went to them and said 'you are wrecking our economy.' I now have the most effective and comprehensive plan to deal with the threat that Wall Street poses."

Despite cheers from the audience, the man who asked the question was unmoved. He told Clinton that he respected her very much and used to support her until she said that marriage was between one man and one woman, an opinion that he said "broke his heart."

"How can we trust that this isn't just more political rhetoric?" he asked. "Please just release those transcripts so we know exactly where you stand."

Clinton responded by saying her views on same-sex marriage have "evolved," and now she is a "100 percent supporter" of it.

While Clinton and Sanders were sparring on stage, their campaigns were sparring over Twitter. Sander's campaign mocked Clinton for promising to undo immigration restrictions put into place under Bill Clinton's administration. Clinton's campaign responded by tweeting a link to the Senate roll call vote for the bill, which showed that Sanders had voted to pass it.

Nevada holds its Democratic caucuses on Saturday. According to a Fox News poll released on Thursday, Sanders leads Clinton by three points nationally, marking the first time he has surpassed Clinton in a national poll.

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