Democrats to Talk Trump, Security in Final Debate of 2015

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Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley

Just days after the Republican presidential hopefuls squared off in Las Vegas, the Democrats will have their turn in New Hampshire on Saturday. The party’s next debate round — hosted by ABC News — will take place at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, which is also the site of a GOP primary debate in February. Front-runner Hillary Clinton will take center stage at the event, flanked by rivals Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Sanders has the advantage of being in familiar New England territory and will likely find a supportive audience. The Independent is enjoying relatively strong numbers in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, according to a recent Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll that shows him trailing by only nine points and within striking distance of the former secretary of state. But in a general election survey by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Clinton has a much stronger position, beating out leading GOP candidate Donald Trump by 13 points.

While Trump grabbed headlines and challenged the Republican establishment, both Clinton and Sanders remained largely on the sidelines when it came to weighing in on the brash businessman’s policies. But after a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2 that left 14 people dead, Trump called for an all-out ban on Muslims entering the country until America’s leaders could “figure out what is going on.” That proposal drew tough talk from the two, who have labeled the media mogul as “dangerous” and a “demagogue.”

Clinton has also been critical of GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been inching up in the polls and is in the lead in Iowa, for his promise to carpet bomb Islamic State terrorists “into oblivion.” She says Cruz and some of her Republican opponents are playing into the terror network’s hands and not offering viable foreign policy solutions, while touting her own experience in national security.

Sanders has also outlined his plan for fighting ISIS by calling for an international coalition of ground and air forces led by Muslim nations. He says protecting the U.S. will take more screening of immigrants and better intelligence coordination with other countries. And while he believes the terrorist organization is an immediate threat to America, Sanders says the planetary crisis of climate change is potentially even more serious.

To see Saturday’s debate live at 8 p.m. ET and for all the latest news on the presidential candidates, go to att.net.

By Paul Martella