Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed over support for President Barack Obama in their first debate since the New Hampshire Championships.
The former secretary of state tried to act as a defender of Barack Obama’s legacy, sharply attacking Senator Bernie Sanders for criticizing the president.
“The criticism I hear from Senator Sanders I expect from Republicans,” Hillary Clinton said.
Voting followed in Nevada and South Carolina, states with large minority populations.
In the PBS NewsHour televised debate, Hillary Clinton repeatedly emphasized her ties to Barack Obama, who is extremely popular with minority voters.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, has sought to tailor his message of economic justice to address differences in black communities.
Hillary Clinton also emphasized her pragmatism, questioning Bernie Sanders’ promises to provide universal health care and free higher education.
“We have a special obligation to clarify what we stand for, so we cannot make promises that we cannot keep.” Hillary Clinton said.
Immigration reform has also been a major topic of discussion. Both Democratic candidates backed the creation of a citizenship route for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and they condemned the recent deportation by the Obama administration.
Criticizing the anti-immigrant stance of Republican favorite Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders said immigrants should not be scapegoats for economic insecurity.
“We must oppose the trump cards of the world that are trying to divide us.” said the senator.
Hillary Clinton is trying to resume her campaign after Bernie Sanders decisively won the championship in New Hampshire.
She received much-needed approval from an influential bloc of black Democrats in Congress on February 11th.
Bernie Sanders won the championship in New Hampshire with 22 percentage points and lost tight spots in Iowa, but both countries have almost entirely white population.
He now faces the challenge of finding votes among the significant Latino and black electorate in Nevada and South Carolina.
Hillary Clinton has strong support among Latinos and African Americans and is expected to do well in both countries.
A recent NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Marist poll in South Carolina gave Hillary Clinton a 74-percent lead over 17% of Bernie Sanders among blacks.
On February 11, the Congressional Political Action Committee of the Black Soviet Council (CBC) publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton as their Democratic presidential candidate, giving further impetus to her campaign.
“We need to have a president who understands the racial divide, not someone who has just acquired knowledge, but someone … who has experienced it and worked through it over the years.” CBC Chairman GK Butterfield told reporters on February 11th.
Recognizing the need to do more to court the black vote, Bernie Sanders met in New York on February 10 with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton.
However, Al Sharpton declined to say which candidate would return after the meeting.
It is not yet clear who will face the winner of the Democratic race in the Republican race, with Donald Trump, John Kasic and Ted Cruz finishing first, second and third at the championship in New Hampshire.
The Republican and Democratic parties will officially nominate their candidates for congressional president in July.
Americans will finally vote to choose the new occupant of the White House in November.