Their race newly energized, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders head into the first one-on-one debate of the Democratic presidential contest Thursday night in a tussle over their very political identities.
The two candidates are sparring over who is the best standard-bearer for progressive values – and who can actually deliver on a liberal agenda of providing universal health care access, reducing income inequality, protecting worker rights and more.
‘Good ideas on paper are important, but you’ve got to be able to translate them into action,’ Clinton declared on the eve of the debate.
Sanders, for his part, said Clinton’s record is ‘just not progressive’ on any number of issues, given her vote as a senator to authorize the war in Iraq and her campaign’s reliance on money from Wall Street and drug companies.
The race for the Democratic nomination, once seen as a sure thing for Clinton, intensified this week after Sanders held the former secretary of state to a whisper-thin margin of victory in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.
The tone of their back-and-forth has become increasingly sharp, and the candidates agreed to add four more debates to the primary season schedule, including Thursday’s faceoff in Durham.
The debate is the last before Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary, and Sanders holds a big lead in polls in the state.
The two Democrats will debate again on Feb. 11 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Read more: Daily Mail