Tightening Clinton-Sanders battle raises stakes for Democratic debate

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Clinton listens as Sanders answers a question at the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in ManchesterBy John Whitesides CHARLESTON, S.C. – Tightening polls and rising tensions between White House rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders could fuel a fiery Democratic debate on Sunday, their last face-to-face encounter until Iowa kicks off the presidential nominating race in two weeks. The leading Democratic contenders stepped up their attacks on each other during the past week, battling over guns, healthcare and Wall Street with growing intensity as polls showed Sanders gaining ground on Clinton in key states. Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who lags badly in polls, will participate in the 9 p.m. EST debate, the fourth between the Democratic contenders.

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