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Wed Nov 18, 2015, 06:42 PM

Martin O'Malley gave, by far, the best Democratic debate answer on refugees.

'When CBS debate moderator John Dickerson asked the Democratic presidential candidates how many Syrian refugees they thought the US should let into the country, Bernie Sanders refused to answer saying there was "no magic number."

In the context of the refugee issue, that was an odd answer.

Sanders wasn't anti-refugee, but he didn't appear to know much about the issue.

Sanders was generally supportive of taking in Syrian refugees. But, he said, he wasn't willing to commit to a "magic number" because "we don't know how big the problem is."

That's only true in the very, very broad sense that we don't know how many people will ultimately be displaced by the Syrian civil war. But there are decent estimates out there of how many Syrians are displaced right now. And the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees has a clear goal for how many refugees they want to resettle permanently in other countries by the end of 2016: 130,000.

The US has historically resettled half or more of the world's refugees who end up living permanently in a third country. That's why advocacy groups, and O'Malley and Clinton, settled on 65,000 Syrian refugees as the target they wanted the Obama administration to hit.

Martin O'Malley wants to cast himself as the true progressive on immigration.

In contrast to Sanders, O'Malley didn't just talk about the specific 65,000 refugee resettlement goal. He was armed with a too-cute analogy about making room for more spectators at a baseball game. The strongest impression he left was that he was prepared to talk about Syrian refugees.'


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