In Buffalo, Clinton Says Sanders’ Free College Plan Would Depend on GOP Governors' ‘Deathbed Conversions’

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Apr 08, 2016 3:20 PM
In Buffalo, Clinton Says Sanders’ Free College Plan Would Depend on GOP Governors' ‘Deathbed Conversions’

At a campaign rally in Buffalo, NY on Friday, Hillary Clinton told voters that a presidential candidate must be able to answer a few important questions. The first, she said, is “Can you make a positive difference?” Then, sounding eerily like the “What difference does it make” comment, she asked “What difference can you make?”

Clinton said the other questions a candidate must answer is: Can you keep us safe and can you bring our country together?

The former secretary of state was “incredibly happy” to be back in Buffalo, adding she’s felt a connection to the region since becoming a New York senator. She praised the city for its transformation.

“No doubt in my mind that Buffalo is on the rise,” she said.

The way to keep this momentum, she indicated, is to support our small businesses and bring people together instead of dividing us “like some prefer.”

Clinton repeated her pledge to be a unifying force throughout her speech. In her “Today” interview earlier on Friday, she said more of the same, insisting that if she is the Democratic nominee she will bring the party together.

When she wasn’t praising Buffalo or talking up her ability to unify, she was taking shots at Bernie Sanders. His free college plan, she said, was a bit too farfetched.

“Sen. Sanders' plan requires something that is very hard to achieve,” she said. He has promised he can get two-thirds of the funding from Wall Street to pay for his free tuition program, but the other third, she noted, would have to come from governors – some of which are Republicans.

“I do believe in deathbed conversions,” Clinton said, but it would take a big change of heart for Republican governors to put money into a free program, especially one in higher education.

The real solution, she offered, is to tackle student debt and allow students to refinancing their loans.

A few minutes later she hit Sanders again for wanting to “throw the country back into a contentious debate” about single payer health care. She also commented on the senator's questioning her presidential qualifications this week.

“Seriously, I’ve been called a lot of things, but unqualified has not been one of them,” she said. “This is all pretty silly.”

Clinton said she is taking nothing for granted and knows how important the New York primary on April 19 is for the 2016 race. 

Considering Sanders has won seven of the last eight contests, she better believe she needs to win in the Empire State in order to hold on to her "inevitable frontrunner" status.