Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton go mano a mano for the first time in Thursday’s New Hampshire Democratic debate, and voters can watch the fireworks streaming live online as the last two candidates left standing in the run for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination battle not only for New Hampshire voters, but for the soul of the Democratic Party.
While both candidates hold similar views on many issues, in recent days Sanders and Clinton have drawn a sharp line between them on the methods and political philosophies that each believes is the better way to lead the party, and the country, into the 2016 presidential election and beyond.
Clinton has defined herself as the hard-nosed pragmatist best qualified to put her policies into action, and the Democrat more devoted to building incrementally on the party’s traditional accomplishments and objectives. In that regard, she has advocated such policies as improving and fine tuning the “Obamacare” health reforms, and finding ways to make higher education more affordable for all students.
On the other hand, Sanders — an independent, self-described “democratic socialist” who affiliated with neither major party until only recently — has called for a “revolution” in the Democratic party, and in American politics overall, a revolution that would take great leaps forward into sweeping new policies such as nationalized health care and 100 percent publicly funded college education, positions Clinton has derided as not rooted “in reality.”
To find out how to watch the New Hampshire Democratic Debate live online, see the video below — or use the streaming links in the final paragraph of this article. The debate, moderated by MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow and NBC Meet The Press host Chuck Todd, is scheduled to get underway at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, 6 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, February 5, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire.
Longshot candidates Jim Webb, representing the conservative wing of the Democratic party, and converted Republican Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, dropped out early in the race. A third candidate, whose liberal views were more in line with those of Clinton and Sanders, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, suspended his campaign on February 1 after finishing a distant third in the Iowa caucuses.
That leaves frontrunner Clinton and surging upstart Sanders to battle for the hearts and minds of Democratic voters in their New Hampshire debate February 4 — their fifth overall, but first in which just the two of them will be on stage going at each other in verbal combat.
To warm up for Thursday’s debate, watch the fourth Democratic debate, held on January 17, in the video below.
For Clinton, though she continues to hold a seemingly insurmountable lead nationwide over Sanders of 15.5 percentage points, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average, the debate is crucial in maintaining her public perception of “inevitability.” Though she trails Sanders in New Hampshire by a staggering 17.8 points in the Real Clear Politics average, she likely needs to cut into his lead there before the February 9 primary in order to maintain her status as the clear frontrunner heading into South Carolina on February 20.
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Clinton continues to hold a dominant lead of nearly 30 points in polling for the South Carolina primary, but a lot can change in politics over a two-week span, and Clinton must use the debate to build on her image of the unbeatable candidate, and the one most qualified to hold the nation’s highest office.
And of course, she must avoid any significant missteps. In her hour-long Town Hall performance Wednesday evening in Derry, New Hampshire, Clinton marred an otherwise forceful performance when she seemed caught off guard by host Anderson Cooper’s question regarding the $675,000 in speaking fees she took from Wall Street investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.
“That’s what they offered,” Clinton shrugged, in response to Cooper’s straightforward query.
— Tal Kopan (@TalKopan) February 4, 2016
For Bernie Sanders, however, almost anything short of a total disaster counts as a win for the underdog candidate, who is still in the process of introducing himself to voters nationwide.
To watch the Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders one-on-one New Hampshire Democratic debate live online Thursday, use the live stream offered by MSNBC.com at this link. NBCNews.com will also reportedly stream the debate live, and an alternative link to debate coverage can be found by clicking here.
[Photo By Andrew Burton/Getty Images]