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Democratic Presidential Candidates Hold First Debate In Las Vegas

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty

Last night marked the third Democratic Presidential Debate and the final one of the year.

Given the drama with “datagate” this week, the debate was a relatively polite one between Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders and Gov. Martin O’Malley where the three discussed numerous issues including the GOP, ISIS, economy and gun control.

Held at Saint Hanselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, the debate also served as a safe space for Sanders to apologize to Clinton face-to-face for his staffer inappropriately accessing her voter information data, an act her camp called “egregious.” And while she accepted his apology, the Democratic frontrunner was clear that she was here to talk about business.

“We should move on, because I don’t think the American people are all that interested in this,” she said.

And business she did.

Clinton focused mostly on the general election “largely looked past her Democratic rivals in Saturday night’s debate, instead repeatedly assailing the Republican field, “ the New York Times pointed out. She blasted Donald Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and how that puts Americans into more danger for terrorist attacks.

“I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States, and literally around the world, that there is a clash of civilizations,” she said, “that there is some kind of Western plot or even war against Islam, which then, I believe, fans the flames of radicalization,” she declared at her podium.

Clinton also talked about what a GOP White House would look like, claiming that it would “roll back” any real progress that’s been made thus far, CNN wrote.

“They would repeal the Affordable Care Act, not improve it…They would give more tax breaks to the super-wealthy and corporations, not to the middle class. And they would, despite all their tough talk about terrorism, continue to let people who are on the no-fly list buy guns.”

Given that this was their first debate since the San Bernardino shooting, the issue of gun control was front and center and served as one of the most heated discussions of the night, the Associated Press noted. O’Malley accused both Clinton and Sanders of “flip-flopping” on their stances, declaring that they lacked courage to be more aggressive in standing up against what has become a crippling epidemic in this country.

One issue they mostly agreed on was that the United States shouldn’t launch a ground war to overcome ISIS, but they squawked on whether a regime change in Syria would be part of their strategy. Yet, all vowed that they were working closely with Muslim-Americans to help dismantle the radicalism that appears to be surfacing on American soil.

The night ended with Clinton acknowledging that most Americans weren’t sitting in front of their televisions on Saturday night watching the three of them, but instead were in theaters fixated on the most-hyped movie of the year—Star Wars: The Force Reawakens.

“Thank you, good night, and may the force be with you,” she said.

With the Iowa Caucus a mere two months away, Clinton is ahead of her opponents with Sanders nipping at her heels though. According to a recent CBS poll, 50 percent of Democratic voters in the Buckeye state are for Clinton, 45 percent for Sanders and 4 percent for O’Malley.

[SOURCES: New York Times, CNN, The Associated Press, CBS]


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Dem Debate Roundup: Datagate, The GOP, ISIS And Star Wars  was originally published on