Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed over support for the president in their first debate since the New Hampshire primary. Mrs Clinton sought to cast herself as the protector of Barack Obama’s legacy, sharply attacking Mr. Sanders for criticising the president. “The kind of criticism I hear from Senator Sanders, I expect from Republicans,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Nevada and South Carolina, states with large minority populations, vote next. At the PBS NewsHour televised debate, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly emphasized her ties to Mr. Obama who is extremely popular among minority voters.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sanders took pains to tailor to his message of economic fairness to address disparities in black communities. Mrs. Clinton also stressed her pragmatism, questioning Mr. Sanders’ pledges to provide universal healthcare and free higher education. “We have a special obligation to make clear what we stand for which is why we can’t make promises we can’t keep,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Immigration reform was also a major topic of discussion. Both candidates supported creating a path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US and they decried a recent uptick in deportations by the Obama administration. Criticising the anti-immigrant positions of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Mr. Sanders said immigrants should not be scapegoats for economic uncertainty.