UPDATE: 10:38 p.m. EST -- United States presidential candidates Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of State HIllary Clinton  and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley continued to spar Sunday, attacking one another over Wall Street reforms, a major campaign issue for the Sanders campaign. They later discussed their ideas for how to cut back greenhouse gas emissions and their strategies to fight ISIS.

“You've got to bring back the 21st-century Glass-Steagall legislation and you've got to break up these huge financial institutions. They have too much economic power and they have too much financial power over our entire economy,” Sanders said. “If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, the old Republican trust buster, what he would say is these guys are too powerful. Break them up. I believe that's what the American people to want see. That's my view.”

dems Martin O'Malley (left), Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Jan. 17, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Randall Hill

Sanders noted that Clinton had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from Wall Street institutions.

Clinton defended herself, saying that she does not have a close relationship with Wall Street in the way that Sanders describes and that she wants to reform regulations on the industry to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. She says that the Dodd-Frank Act put into place following the crisis is sufficient to break up the banks.

“Yes, well, the point is that if we're going to be serious about this and not just try to score political points, we should know what's in Dodd-Frank, and what's in Dodd-Frank already gives the president the authority” to break up the banks, Clinton said.

hillary and bernie Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders participate in the Democratic candidates debate on Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The issue has been a major area of difference for the two candidates and a potential weak point for Clinton, who has accepted millions of dollars in campaign funding from the finance industry.

For his part, O’Malley said he supports a modern Glass-Seagall, just like Sanders, and took shots at Clinton, questioning her commitment to this issue and pointing out she has ducked taking liberal positions like his and Sanders’ in the past.

dem trio Martin O'Malley (left), Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders participate in the Democratic candidates debate on Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images







Democratic Debate Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, Dec. 19, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder

UPDATE: 9:55 p.m. EST -- Presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders engaged in a heated debate about the future of healthcare in the United States Sunday, questioning the viability of each other’s plans and their ability to fix perceived problems. Clinton attacked Sanders’ plan to implement universal healthcare, saying it would be a setback for liberal efforts, while Sanders attacked Clinton for her campaign funding and said the pharmaceutical and insurance industries have an outsized influence on policy.

“As someone who has a little bit of experience standing up to the health insurance industry that spent many, many millions of dollars attacking me -- and probably will so again because of what I believe we can do building on the Affordable Care Act,” Clinton said, contrasting her plan with that of Sanders, who wants to create a universal healthcare system. One thing about those enemies: Clinton has received campaign funding and donations to her family's charitable ogranization from health insurance industries.

She has repeatedly criticized Sanders for his plan, saying it is too expensive and would raise taxes on middle-class Americans. Sanders has countered that his plan, which was released earlier in the day, would actually save Americans money.







UPDATE: 9:30 p.m. EST -- The candidates on the stage for the final Democratic debate before Iowa voters go to caucus Feb. 1 made their cases to the African-American community Sunday, saying that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed and that police forces in the United States need to be held accountable for violent actions. They noted that African-Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of the American penal system and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders even called for immediate Justice Department investigations when people die while in police custody.

Debate moderators noted that Clinton polls better with black people -- seen as a key constituency for Democratic candidates -- to which Sanders replied that those numbers can change. Noting his surge recently in the polls, he said he would do better with that voting bloc once people become more aware of who he is.







UPDATE: 9:11 p.m. EST -- The Democratic debate began Sunday just after 9 p.m. EST and the candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, calmly began explaining their policy positions and their views of the nation. They focused on raising wages, environmental concerns and the topic that has been gaining lots of heat recently: healthcare. On the eve of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, they also mentioned his revered legacy.

“I remember well when my youth minister took me to hear Dr. King,” Clinton said in her opening remarks, noting that she was propelled into public service at least in part by that experience. "I was a teenager. And his moral clarity, the message that he conveyed that evening really stayed with me and helped to set me on a path to service. I also remember that he spent the last day of his life in Memphis, fighting for dignity and higher pay for working people."

“What the American people understand is that our economy is rigged, that ordinary Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, 47 million people living in poverty, and almost all of the new income and wealth going to the top 1 percent," Sanders said during his opening remarks, focusing on the central theme of his candidacy.

“Our country is doing better, we’re creating jobs again,” O’Malley said after praising President Barack Obama and saying that the country needs continued changes.









Original story -- Democratic presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley were scheduled to debate one another Sunday at 9 p.m. EST in Charleston, South Carolina, after one of the most interesting weeks of the campaign so far. Long favored as the Democratic Party’s likely eventual nominee, Clinton found herself in a somewhat precarious situation: trailing Sanders in New Hampshire and, more worrisome for Clinton, in a statistical dead heat in Iowa.

While Clinton still leads averages of polls in Iowa, which will go to caucus Feb. 1, her lead has been greatly reduced and one recent poll showed her just 2 points ahead of Sanders -- well within the margin of error. Things remained mostly the same for O’Malley, who has struggled to gain traction in polls throughout his candidacy and registers just 5.2 points in Iowa compared to his competitors who poll in the 40s there. In New Hampshire, which will hold its primary Feb. 9, Sanders has been expanding his lead and takes in 48.8 percent of the vote compared to 42.6 for Clinton and just 3 points for O’Malley.

That the race is now competitive does not, however, mean that Sunday’s debate will have the kind of viewership that the Republican debates have drawn in more attractive time slots. The Democratic National Committee, which puts together the debate schedule, has been criticized repeatedly -- especially by O’Malley -- for time slots that have been called uncompetitive.

Viewers can expect a clash between Sanders and Clinton on a variety of issues from gun control to Wall Street reform, a major pillar of Sanders' platform. He has focused on economic issues since day one and has pushed Clinton to the left on the issue. Healthcare reform, too, has become a major point of contention in the race. Hours before the debate, Sanders released a plan that would raise income taxes across the board to pay for the universal healthcare he is proposing. Clinton has said she wants to incrementally expand President Barack Obama's healthcare law, known as Obamacare.