Democratic race down to just two: Clinton, Sanders face off

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 DURHAM, N.H. (KTVU) - The debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had plenty of fire Thursday night as the two Democrats faced off at the University of New Hampshire just five days before the Granite State's primary.

The battle to define the Democratic Party has intensified after the near-tie in Iowa that had Clinton winning by less than one percent.

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic socialist Vermont senator has fired up a grassroots campaign that has captivated many first-time and disaffected voters.

"What we have to do is wage a political revolution," Sanders said, "I want to see working people and young people come into the party in a way that doesn't exist now."

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, senator, and longtime Democratic Party powerhouse once thought to be the pre-ordained choice for the Democratic nominee, now faces a tough primary fight.

"I'm fighting for people...and I'm not making promises that I cannot keep," Clinton said.

"Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman President, as exemplifying the establishment," Clinton said, drawing laughs from some in the audience.

On the issues, the first clashes came over campaign finance and Wall Street.

"Kid gets caught with marijuana, that kid has a police record. A Wall Street executive destroys the economy, $5 billion settlement with the government, no criminal record," Sanders said getting big applause from the audience, "That is what has to change in the United States of America."

"The middle class bailed out Wall Street. Now it is Wall Street's time to help the middle class," Sanders said.

Sanders touted his lack of a super PAC, or political action committee. His campaign has criticized Clinton's reported acceptance of $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.

Clinton defended her actions saying she has fought for Wall Street reform.

"You will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation I received," Clinton said.

In the debate's most intense conflict, Clinton fired back at Sanders.

"I think it's time to end the very artful smear campaign you and your campaign have waged,. Let's talk about the issues. We both agree on campaign finance reform," Clinton said, over protests by Sanders and boos from the audience.

On health insurance, Clinton said she'd stand by the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans have said they would dismantle.
Sanders calling for a quicker move to expand coverage to universal health care, saying the Affordable Care Act doesn't go far enough.

"We have 29 million people who have zero health insurance. We have even more who are underinsured with large deductibles and copayments and prescription drug prices are off the wall," Sanders said.

Clinton is under pressure to appeal to the Democratic party's young and progressive voters, and she made her case during Thursday's debate, even attacking Sanders' progressive credentials.

"I am a progressive who gets things done and the root of the word is progress," said Clinton.

"If we're going to get into labels, I don't think it was progressive to vote against the Brady Bill 5 times. I don't think it was progressive to give gun makers immunity," Clinton said.

On foreign policy, Sanders conceded Clinton had more experience but said he had better judgement, bringing up their 2002 votes on the Iraq War.

"One of us voted the right way, one of us voted the wrong way," said Sanders, who voted against the war.

For Sanders the challenge is trying to prove that he could go the distance and win a general election.

Clinton said her experience makes her the better candidate and she's better positioned to fight off a Republican opponent.

"You've got to be ready on day one. There's too much unpredictable threat and danger in the world today," Clinton said about her foreign policy experience.

"I've been vetted, there's hardly anything you don't know about me," she said.

Throughout the debate both Democrats did come together on one point, about who will best serve the American people.

"On our worse days, I think we are 100 times better than any Republican candidate," Sanders said, getting a handshake from Clinton.

Sanders leads Clinton in the New Hampshire polls by double digits. Clinton leads Sanders by a similar margin in South Carolina.

The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday February 9th.