Fleming: National security will play major role in 2016 election

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A little more than 24 hours after terrorists attacked Paris, the Democratic presidential candidates came together on one stage for a previously scheduled national debate.

There is no doubt the threat of ISIS is part of the national and global conversation – and legal analysts say foreign policy is going to play a major role in the next presidential election.

Eyewitness News legal analyst Joe Fleming told Eyewitness News that before the Paris attacks, national security and terrorism did not rank very high in terms of voter priorities.

He said he suspects it will now be ranked much higher.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley faced off in a debate Saturday night.

When asked if Hillary Clinton’s experience as Secretary of State will help or hurt her campaign now that security is a main concern, Fleming said it could be both an advantage and a hindrance.

“It could launch her forward because she has the experience of Secretary of State,” he said. “At the same time, a lot will go back to when she was Secretary of State and the things she did while the Secretary that helped ISIS develop more in the middle east.”

Fleming said it is no surprise that both Sen. Sanders and Former Maryland Governor O’Malley were focused on Clinton during the debate.

“The disastrous invasion of Iraq, something I have strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely,” Sanders said Saturday night.

“Secretary Clinton, when you put out your proposal on Wall Street it was greeted by many as ‘weak tea,'” O’Malley added.

According to Fleming, he said he isn’t sure O’Malley did much to improve his ranking during the debate – and that Sanders has slipped in some states where he was polling ahead of Clinton.

“If he can’t get the momentum back it’s just going to keep building for Hillary Clinton, so there has to be something that he can do or he has to try to find something to do to try to close that gap and make this more of a race,” Fleming said.

And Fleming added that he didn’t see any break-out moments or major gaffs from the candidates Saturday night.

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