The Latest: Updates from the Democratic presidential debate - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

The Latest: Updates from the Democratic presidential debate

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UPDATE: In their final debate before the Iowa caucuses, the gloves came off between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Shouting over each other at times, the two leading Democratic presidential candidates engaged in some of their toughest exchanges of the campaign on Sunday night, underscoring the narrowing race between them in the first-to-vote states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Clinton sought an advantage over the Vermont senator on curbing gun violence.

Sanders, meanwhile, twice assailed the former secretary of state for accepting big money in speaking fees from Wall Street, drawing some boos as he did so.

Health care emerged as a major dividing line, placing the future of President Barack Obama's health care law in the spotlight.

Just two hours before the debate, Sanders released a proposal that would create a "Medicare for all" health care system funded by higher taxes on middle class families and the wealthy.

Clinton warned that reopening the health care debate would put Obama's health care law at risk.

Trailing in preference polls by a wide margin, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley tried to enter into the conversation with mixed results.

Here are some takeaways from Sunday's Democratic debate:

Democratic presidential candidates want voters to know them as the science party.

That's as opposed to the Republican presidential field that includes several candidates who dismiss the scientific consensus that human activity has made the earth warmer over time.

Martin O'Malley says the three candidates "actually believe in science."

He says Democrats should commit to "a 100 percent clean electricity grid by 2050," leaning on solar and other sources instead of fossil fuels to power the nation.

Bernie Sanders mocks Republicans as "a major party ... that is so owned by the fossil fuel industry and their campaign contributions that they dont' even have the courage, the decency to listen to the scientists."

Sanders says younger Americans "instinctively" recognize the imperative to change consumer behavior, and he agrees with O'Malley's call to remake the energy industry. He pitches the transition as an economic opportunity.

"We need to be bold and decisive," he says. "We can create millions of jobs."


Bernie Sanders is pointing to Hillary Clinton's campaign contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street as evidence that she won't be able to impose stricter regulations on the financial sector.

He says, "I don't get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs."

Clinton is shooting right back, alleging Sanders' comments amount to an attack on President Barack Obama's record on financial regulation.

She also says there's "no daylight" between her and Sanders on the basic premise that big banks need to be reigned in.

Wall Street regulation is a major point of contention between the two campaigns, with Sanders recently releasing an ad outlining "two visions" within the Democratic party over Wall Street regulation.

Clinton's response tying herself to Obama is part of her effort to craft herself as the natural heir to his presidency.


Hillary Clinton says she plans to keep pursuing all votes, including from young people who turn out in droves for Bernie Sanders.

Democratic debate moderator Lester Holt cites polling that suggests the 74-year-old Sanders leads the 68-year-old Clinton by about a 2-to-1 margin among "young voters," though he did not offer details.

Clinton cited several points in her platform as reasons she should appeal to young people, such as tuition-free community college, overhauling the student loan system and restoring voting rights laws struck down by the Supreme Court.

But she stresses that her pitch ultimately is aimed at voters of all ages. "Turning over the White House to Republicans," she says, would "be bad for" everyone.


A heated Bernie Sanders says the debate over health care reform should be about who has "the guts to stand up to" private insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

He says the reason the United States doesn't guarantee health care as a right is partly because of a "corrupt" campaign finance system.

Sanders and Hillary Clinton are engaged in a fiery back-and-forth over how to further reform health care.

Sanders is advocating for a "Medicare for all" plan, while Clinton says she would build on the Affordable Care Act.

Clinton says she has experience taking on the health insurance industry, noting with a smile that they've spent "many, many millions of dollars" attacking her - but says the candidates must be realistic when it comes to health care reform.

She says even with Democrats in charge, Congress has failed to pass a bill allowing people to choose to participate in Medicare.

(Information is provided by the Associated Press...)

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