Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders listens as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas

Democratic rivals back Clinton on emails, but little else in scrappy debate

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with rival candidate and U.S. Senator Sanders as they participate in the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las VegasBy John Whitesides and Amanda Becker LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – With a smile and a handshake, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton secured unexpected support from chief rival Bernie Sanders over an email scandal during their first debate, helping to defuse an issue that has dogged her campaign. Sanders, a 74-year-old U.S. senator from Vermont came to her rescue on Tuesday night as Clinton, 67, said she wanted to focus on more pressing policy issues when questioned about a private email server she used as U.S. secretary of state. Shortly after that moment of warmth, however, Clinton and Sanders clashed over their views about Wall Street, capitalism, gun control, and U.S. policy on Syria in a surprisingly feisty first debate between candidates who have largely steered clear of criticizing each other on the campaign trail.

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