Clinton and Sanders face off in tough US Democratic debate

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2015 00:13 IST
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event at the Old Brick Church in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo)

The three Democrats running for the party’s presidential ticket will take the stage on Saturday night for their last debate of the year in the light of an unseemly war between two leading campaigns.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has accused Bernie Sanders’s of accessing information about her voters from the party data base maintained by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Sanders’s campaign doesn’t dispute the charges, and had fired its IT team head, but responded furiously by suing the DNC for blocking its access to the data base on Friday. The dispute was resolved on Saturday morning, just hours before the candidates take the stage, but the clash was described in a some quarters as a civil war in a largely civil fight.

The Democratic race has been far quieter, far less dramatic and, therefore, much less exciting than the Republican contest headlined by its flashy front-runner Donald Trump. Clinton continues to hold a formidable lead in polls — 55.9% in the national average of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics to Sanders’s 31.1% and Martin O’Malley’s 3.0%.

Sanders has excited the party’s far-left base, but pundits don’t see him winning the ticket, which is still considered Clinton’s to lose despite her own troubles.

Clinton has been beset by a continuing controversy over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, with some speculation of an indictment.

Her poll numbers took a blow at the peak of the controversy, but she was since recovered putting it all behind her with a brilliant performance at the first Democratic debate.

Clinton followed that up with another commended performance at the second debate, which focused on national security.

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