Each of the Democratic presidential candidates at the CBS debate Saturday seemed to take their cue from the White House — they declined to use the term “radical Islam” to describe militant groups like the Islamic State.
CBS News’ John Dickerson asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whether she agreed with Sen. Marco Rubio’s assessment that the Paris attacks show “that we are at war with Radical Islam.”
“I don’t think we’re at war with Islam,” she answered. “I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. I think we’re at war with jihadists.”
“He didn’t say all Muslims,” Dickerson said. “He said, ‘Radical Islam.’ Is that a phrase you don’t [use]?”
“I think you can talk about Islamists who clearly are also jihadists,” she said. “But I think it’s not particularly helpful.”
At a later point, Sen. Bernie Sanders fell right into step. He said he doesn’t think “the term is what’s important.” He spoke of barbaric practices that terrorist groups believe in, like oppressing women.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was no different. Dickerson advanced the argument that you can’t defeat an enemy that you can’t define.
Like Clinton, O’Malley referred to them as “radical jihadis” and said that the Islamic State terrorists are “perverting the name of a great world religion.”
Clinton didn’t seem to have a problem defining the terrorists four days earlier. At a New Hampshire event, she said, “I do think that we have to do a better job of understanding the threat that is posed by radical Islamic jihadist groups.”
Watch the clip, via CBS News.
Jamie Weinstein, senior editor at The Daily Caller took notice, sent out this tweet anbd earned further commentary:
Clinton won’t say we are at war w/ “radical Islam” #DemDebate
— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) November 15, 2015
— christie (@spadalmhc) November 15, 2015
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump did some head-scratching over Obama’s refusal to use the term.
Why won’t President Obama use the term Islamic Terrorism? Isn’t it now, after all of this time and so much death, about time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2015
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