Democratic debate: Clinton and Sanders prepare for meaningful engagement

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders head into the Democratic debate tonight with just 14 days to go before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses. Little did anyone predict that the polls in Iowa would be so close between the two as they prepare to share the stage in Charleston, South Carolina.

Sanders enters the debate seeking to sustain his recent momentum, and hoping to convince democrats that he is a viable candidate once the campaigns move away from the predominately white audiences of Iowa and New Hampshire to more diverse states like South Carolina. Meanwhile, Clinton needs to follow up her recent advertising offensive against Sanders, with an effective showing in the debate.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders will be defending against criticism of thee financial basis of his health care proposal and his stance on gun control (e.g., his past support for manufacturers immunity, Charleston Loophole). Note: The Sanders campaign has just released his health care plan.

Clinton has been dogged by the increasingly disturbing email scandal. Sanders has avoided the topic in the past, but moderators or Martin O’Malley may revisit the issue. Clinton will also seek to avoid criticism about her close relationships with Wall Street or the publicity of Benghazi from the movie “13 hours”.

Hillary Clinton

With election polls showing a narrowing gap between the two candidates, both will be looking to gain an edge. Clinton will look to throw some scrutiny on Sanders without belying desperation or overreach, whereas, Sanders will attempt to convince the audience of his viability in the general election.