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High stakes debate has Sanders in the crosshairs

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Democrats faced off before the South Carolina primaries on Saturday The Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina reprised a piece of political theatre similar to a performance six days earlier in Las Vegas.On stage in Nevada last week, the debate played out like dinner-theatre murder mystery. New…

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The Democrats faced off before the South Carolina primaries on Saturday

The Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina reprised a piece of political theatre similar to a performance six days earlier in Las Vegas.On stage in Nevada last week, the debate played out like dinner-theatre murder mystery. New York Michael Bloomberg was the victim, while everyone else on the stage had a motive and the means to do him in. This time, on Tuesday night, it was Bernie Sanders who got the rhetorical bludgeoning. It was last debate before South Carolina votes on Saturday – followed by 14 other states next Tuesday – and was full of tense moments and sharp exchanges, reflecting the high stakes.The Bernie BashRight at the top, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg referenced a recent report that Russia was attempting to boost Sanders’s presidential campaign.”Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States,” he said. “And that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you will lose to him.”Elizabeth Warren, who hasn’t often taken swipes at Sanders, said they both wanted universal healthcare, but she “dug in” and “did the work” to pay for her plan, and “Bernie’s team trashed me for it”.After facing pressure from his opponents, Sanders backed away from his 2005 vote to protect gun manufacturers from legal liability for deaths from their products – a rare admission of error from the Vermont senator.”I have cast thousands of votes, including bad votes,” he said. “That was a bad vote.”He stood behind his recent praise of communist Cuba’s literacy programmes (while still condemning the nation’s human rights abuses.)”Really? Literacy programs are bad?” Sanders exclaimed. “Occasionally it might be a good idea to be honest about American foreign policy. America has overthrown governments a
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