(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D.-Hawaii) lashed out at Sen. Kamala Harris (D.-Calif.) during the MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic presidential debate Wednesday, saying the senator was trafficking "in lies and smears and innuendos" after Harris took Gabbard to task for criticizing the Democratic Party.
“You have criticized Hillary Clinton as the, quote, personification of the rot that has sickened the democratic party. What is the rot you see in the Democratic Party?” Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post, asked Gabbard.
“That our Democratic Party, unfortunately, is not the party that is of, by and for the people. It is a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington, represented by Hillary Clinton and others’ foreign policy, by the military industrial complex and other greedy corporate interests,” Gabbard responded.
“I'm running for president to be the Democratic nominee that rebuilds our Democratic Party, takes it out of their hands and truly puts it in the hands of the people of this country, a party that actually hears the voices of American who are struggling all across this country, and puts it in the hands of veterans and fellow Americans who are calling for an end to this ongoing Bush, Clinton, Trump foreign policy doctrine of regime change wars, overthrowing dictators in other countries, needlessly sending my brothers and sisters in uniform into harm’s way in wars that actually undermine our national security and have cost us thousands of American lives,” she said.
“These are wars that have cost us as American taxpayers trillions of dollars since 9/11 alone, dollars that have come out of our pockets, out of our hospitals, out of our schools, out of our infrastructure needs. As president I will end this foreign policy, end these regime changes and work to end this new Cold War and arms race and instead invest our hard-earned taxpayer dollars actually into serving the needs of the American people right here at home,” the congresswoman added.
Harris responded, saying, “I think that it's unfortunate that we have someone on this stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama, who has been full-time criticizing people on this stage as affiliated with the Democratic Party, when Donald Trump was elected, not even sworn in, buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump in the Trump Tower, fails to call a war criminal by what he is as a war criminal, and then spends full time during the course of this campaign, again, criticizing the Democratic Party.
“What we need on the stage in November is someone who has the ability to win, and by that, we need someone on that stage who has the ability to go toe to toe with Donald Trump and someone who has the ability to rebuild the Obama coalition and bring the party and the nation together. I believe I am that candidate,” the senator added.
“What Senator Harris is doing is unfortunately continuing to traffic in lies and smears and innuendos because she cannot challenge the substance of the argument that I'm making, the leadership and the change that I'm seeking to bring in our foreign policy, which only makes me guess that she will as president continue the status quo, continue the Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy of regime change wars, which is deeply destructive,” Gabbard said.
“This is personal to me because I served in Iraq,” the congresswoman said. “I left my seat in the state legislature in Hawaii, volunteered to deploy to Iraq where I served in the medical unit where every single day I saw the terribly high human cost of war. I take very seriously the responsibility that the president has to serve as commander in chief, to lead our armed forces and to make sure always -- no, I'm not going to put party interests first. I will put the interests of the American people above all else.”
Harris responded, saying she believes the nation “needs right now is a nominee who can speak to all people.”
“I spent my entire career standing mostly in a courtroom speaking five words: Kamala Harris for the people. And it was about all the people regardless of their race, regardless of their gender, regardless of where they lived geographically, regardless of the party with which they're registered to vote or the language their grandmother speaks. We need someone who has the ability to unify the country and win the election, and I believe, again, I am that candidate,” the senator said.