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Fact Checking the 2016 MSNBC Debate

In the first Democratic debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton this election, both candidates criticized each other’s policy positions
Image: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Clinton shake hands at the conclusion of the Democratic presidential candidates debate sponsored by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire in Durham
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shake hands at the conclusion of the Democratic presidential candidates debate sponsored by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike SegarMIKE SEGAR / Reuters

Just days before the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton squared off in a heated Democratic presidential debate.

And though it was passionate, was it accurate?

NBC News’ partners at PolitiFact take a look at some of Thursday night's most contentious claims.

Claim 1: “Almost all” incomes are going to the 1 percent

Sanders started his opening statement with a warning: “Millions of Americans are giving up on the political process.”

“They are working longer hours for low wages… And yet almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent,” he said.

PolitiFact points out that on average, Americans are not working longer hours and that a majority of wealth is not going to the 1 percent. It is not completely inaccurate, according to the fact check group. But they do say “he’s over-exaggerating” the claim.

Claim 2: Sanders says he helped write the Affordable Care Act

In the first question of the night, Clinton was asked why she thinks Sanders’ proposed policies would not turn into actual legislation. Clinton said health care was a prime example where Sanders would essentially redo what President Barack Obama had already put into action.

Clinton said that she “wants to build on the progressive [the country] has made” so far, hinting that Sanders would not do the same.

Sanders reminded Clinton that he was on the Health Education Labor Committee in the Senate when the committee “wrote the Affordable Care Act.”

However, PolitiFact says that the senator “has exaggerated his role in writing the health care law.”

Claim 3: Sanders voted against background checks and waiting periods

Clinton pushed back on Sanders’ recent claims that she is not progressive enough to be president by countering with his previous votes on gun control.

“I don't think it was particularly progressive [of Sanders] to vote against the Brady Bill five times. I don't think it was progressive to vote to give gun makers and sellers immunity,” she said.

PolitiFact rates the claim she often makes on the stump as “Mostly True.”

Claim 4: Clinton warned Wall Street about the 2008 financial crash

Another attack from Sanders' playbook is framing Clinton as a member of the establishment. His explanation? She’s influenced by Wall Street.

Clinton hit back saying that the senator is running a “very artful smear” against her on the issue. She justified accepting thousands in speaking fees from Wall Street firms, saying “they wanted me to talk about the world.”

PolitiFact looks into how much money she’s made from paid speeches since leaving her post as Secretary of State:

Clinton also said that she warned Wall Street about the “risky shenanigans with mortgages” before the final market collapsed in 2008.

How did PolitiFact rate the claim? True.

Claim 5: Clinton undermines Sanders's foreign policy experience, Sanders pushes back

On the foreign policy front, Clinton tried to undermine Sanders's national security chops by pointing out that a range of experts had already expressed concern over his proposals to combat ISIS.

"A group of national security experts, military intelligence experts, issued a very concerning statement about Senator Sanders's views on foreign policy and national security, pointing out some of the comments he has made on these issues, such as inviting Iranian troops into Syria to try to resolve the conflict there; putting them right at the doorstep of Israel," she said.

On the stump, Sanders has specifically touted that he would help build a Muslim coalition to fight ISIS on the ground. But as PolitiFact found, the senator has also "advance that idea" that he would put Iranian troops in Syria as part of the larger coalition. Since Clinton's claim is true, but skirts around details, PolitiFact rates the claim as "Mostly True."

In response, Sanders said he “fully concedes” that Clinton has more foreign policy expertise, but argued that at the end of the day being commander-in-chief is all about “judgment.”

He hit Clinton for undermining President Obama back in 2008 for being “naïve” on foreign policy, reminding her that she criticized the president for wanting to renew communication with America’s enemies.

“When you ran against Senator Obama you thought him naive because he thought it was a good idea to talk to our enemies. I think those are exactly the people you have to talk to and you have to negotiate with,” he said.

Sanders has made that claim before and PolitiFact found inconsistencies.

Claim 6: Sanders campaign never implied endorsement from New Hampshire newspaper

On Wednesday, the Sanders campaign came under fire by New Hampshire newspapers the Nashua Telegraph and Valley News for falsely implying that they had endorsed the senator in an online ad titled “Endorsed.”

When asked about claims, Sanders said, “you put titles on ads and you send them out, but there was no word in that ad, none, that said that those newspapers had endorsed us.

PolitiFact rated the ad as “False” for misrepresentation.

Claim 7: Hillary flip-flopped on Trans Pacific Partnership

Yup, it’s true according to PolitiFact.

Clinton defended her position change saying that she hoped TPP “would be the gold standard” of trade agreements. However, she didn’t exactly say that as secretary of state.