A wrap-up of the Democratic Presidential debate

Bernie Sanders, left, offers an apology to Hillary Clinton during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) – The Latest on the Democratic presidential debate (all times local):

___

10:59 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has closed out the Democratic presidential debate with an argument aimed squarely at the general election.

Clinton focused not on her primary rivals in her final statement, but on Republicans.

She says it’s important for a Democrat to succeed President Barack Obama. She wants to portray herself as the most electable candidate against a Republican nominee.

Clinton says if, “heaven forbid,” a Republican is elected, rights will be rolled back for women, gays, workers and others. She says Social Security and health care for veterans may be privatized.

She says the 2016 election is a “watershed election.”

The Democratic front-runner also mentioned other big news – the new Star Wars movie. She told the debate audience, “Thank you, and may the force be with you.”

___

10:51 p.m.

In his closing statement at the Democratic debate, Martin O’Malley is sounding a hopeful and personal tone.

The former governor of Maryland says there’s nothing he and his wife wouldn’t do to make the futures of their four kids safer and healthier, and more full of opportunity.

He says that’s the basis of his underdog campaign for president. He is contrasting the rhetoric of Democrats with Republicans, saying, “They can have their anger, and they can have their fear.”

___

10:50 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is ending the last Democratic debate with a personal story about his family’s humble beginnings.

He says growing up in a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn underscored to him the economic hardships so many face.

He pledges if elected to “bring about a political revolution” where millions of people say “enough is enough, this great country and our governemnt belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionnaires.”

He also applauded his Democratic rivals, saying that “on our worst day, I think we have a lot more to offer the American peopel than the right wing extremists.”

___

10:48 p.m.

As the Democratic presidential debate wound down, the moderators asked about the role of the White House spouse.

Clinton praised first lady Michelle Obama for her work on nutrition. Clinton said she would tap former President Bill Clinton for advice and special missions, such as improving the economy for everyone. And she said she would probably pick out china for state dinners on her own.

Sanders said his wife, Jane, is “a lot smarter than me” and would sit close to him in the West Wing of the White House.

The Vermont senator thanked Clinton for her ambition as a former first lady, saying she “redefined what that role could be.”

___

10:30 p.m.

The Democratic candidates for president are calling for new action to halt the heroin epidemic ravaging New Hampshire and other states across the country.

Bernie Sanders says doctors and pharmacies “have got to start getting their act together” to limit the supply of opiates they’re prescribing.

He says, “Addiction is a disease, not a criminal activity.”

Hillary Clinton says she’s met people across New Hampshire who have lost loved ones to addiction or are fighting to get clean.

She says it’s “a major epidemic.” She wants more federal money to help states and thinks all law enforcements should carry a drug that can stop overdoses.

Martin O’Malley says the country should be reacting to the crisis with the same urgency with which it reacted to last year’s breakout of Ebola in west Africa.

___

10:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says mistrust between police officers and the nation’s minority communities is one of the most important challenges facing the next president.

Clinton says in the Democratic debate there is “systemic racism,” injustices and inequalities in the U.S. – especially in the criminal justice system.

She says the next president should build on President Barack Obama’s work to try to restore trust.

But Clinton also praises police officers who she says are “acting heroically” in some parts of the country to bridge divides.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says the U.S. needs to “end institutional racism.” He says police officers shouldn’t be shooting unarmed people, predominantly African Americans.

___

10:17 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is pledging not to raise taxes on middle class families making under $250,000 a year if she’s elected president.

Clinton says in the Democratic presidential debate there will be “no middle class tax raises.” She adds, “That is a pledge that I’m making.”

Clinton argues the government should not be creating large new programs that will impose higher taxes on families while wages remain stagnant.

Clinton made the pledge while criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ health care plan.

But Sanders says he supports a small tax to fund paid family and medical leave, which the country currently lacks.

___

10:13 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she would build on the “successes” of the president’s health-care law and work to resolve what she calls “glitches.

Clinton said in the Democratic debate that prices on prescription drugs have gone “through the roof” and that the private health care and government-run insurance exchanges should be better regulated “so that we are not being gamed.”

She says there’s not enough competition and not enough oversight of what insurance companies are charging for health care coverage.

Pressed by the moderator on how those seemingly major issues are “glitches,” Clinton says they are attributable to problems any start-up encounters.

Bernie Sanders says he would push for a single-payer health care system that would he would fund with new taxes.

___

9:51 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is working reframe the debate about Wall Street reform in a way that would help her in the general election if she’s the Democratic nominee.

Clinton has been accused by primary opponents of being too cozy with big banks and Wall Street.

But Clinton is portraying herself as an antagonist of corporations who oppose her steps to rein in excesses. She’s pointing out that two billionaires who run hedge funds are running campaign ads attacking her.

Clinton says she gets more donations from students and teachers than she does from Wall Street

Clinton is also trying to turn the tables on Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. She’s suggesting O’Malley is hypocritical and says when he ran the Democratic Governors Association, he had “no trouble” raising money from major corporations.

___

9:42 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she thinks “everybody should” love her, including corporate America.

The Democratic front-runner for president has faced criticism for her close ties to Wall Street and for the money she’s raised from the financial services industry.

But Clinton says she want to be the president “for the struggling, the striving and the successful.”

Clinton says she wants the wealthy to pay higher tax rates but also wants to partner with the private sector to create jobs.

Asked if corporate America will love him, Bernie Sanders says, “No, I think they won’t.”

The Vermont senator says chief executives of large multinational corporations “ain’t going to like me, and Wall Street is going to like me even less.”

___

9:31 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says he wants to make “secondary” the fight against Syrian leader Bashar Assad and focus exclusively on defeating the Islamic State.

He says at the Democratic presidential debate, “it is not Assad who is attacking the United States.”

Hillary Clinton responds that she wants to “do both at once.”

Both candidates decried Assad, with Sanders calling him a terrible dictator” and Clinton dialing up the rhetoric by labeling him “a despot with American blood on his hands.”

Vermont Sen. Sanders says he worries the country is too involved in regime change without thinking through the consequences, an echo of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s thoughts on foreign policy.

___

9:25 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says Muslim-majority nations should take the lead in fighting the Islamic State group.

Sanders says there should be an international coalition including Russia that fights the Islamic State.

But he says troops on the ground must be Muslims, and not American troops.

The Vermont senator says countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have to “step up to the plate” and provide needed troops.

He says the U.S. should tell Saudi Arabia that instead of going to war in Yemen, the kingdom should go to war against IS.

He says the U.S. should tell Qatar that instead of spending $200 billion on the World Cup, it should pay attention to the threat of IS at its doorstep.

___

9:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is breaking with New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who’s called for a halt to admitting Syrian refugees into the country.

Clinton says a heightened screening process should “move forward” while the country also battles Islamic State militants.

At the Democratic debate in Hassan’s home state, Clinton is advocating prioritizing refugees who are orphans, widows and the elderly for admission into the country.

Clinton says failing to accept the refugees would “sacrifice American values.”

Hassan is a Democrat who endorsed Clinton in September.

___

9:05 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says Donald Trump is becoming the Islamic State group’s “best recruiter” with his call to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the U.S.

Clinton says in the third Democratic debate that she understands people are fearful after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

But she says, “Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people.”

She says Americans need to be united against the threats the country faces, and that Muslim-Americans must be part of that united front.

___

8:55 p.m.

Martin O’Malley is attacking Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for doing too little to strengthen gun laws. He interrupted moderators in the Democratic debate to get a word in on gun control.

O’Malley says the lack of progress on gun safety is due to the “flip-flopping political approach in Washington” represented by Clinton and Vermont Sen. Sanders.

He points to his record of pushing gun safety laws as governor of Maryland. O’Malley says he overcame objections from the National Rifle Association and crowds that protested new gun safety laws.

The heated remarks from O’Malley prompted pushback from Clinton and Sanders.

Sanders said: “Let’s calm down a little bit, Martin.”

Clinton said: “Let’s tell the truth, Martin.”

___

8:52 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is trying to square his background as a senator from the rural state of Vermont with a Democratic primary electorate eager to see tougher gun control regulations.

Sanders says at the Democratic debate, “It’s a divided country on guns, but there is a broad consensus on sensible gun safety regulations.”

Sanders is calling for “sensible gun regulations,” including eliminating the gun show loophole.

He previously backed legislation that would have given gun manufactures immunity from lawsuits and opposed the Brady Bill.

___

8:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she accepts an apology from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the actions of his staff in a data breach, urging voters and the media to “move on.”

Clinton says she was “distressed” when she learned of the data breach and says her campaign will participate in an independent investigation to examine what went wrong.

She says, “I don’t think the American people are that interested in this.”

Her words echoed the language that Sanders used when he dismissed issues around Clinton’s use of a private email account and server when she was secretary of state.

During the first Democratic primary debate, he said Americans were “sick and tired” of hearing about her “damn emails.”

___

8:40 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is apologizing to both Hillary Clinton and his own supporters for the actions of staff in a data breach that has roiled the Democratic campaign for president in the past 24 hours.

Sanders says his staff did “the wrong thing” by accessing Clinton campaign voter information on a database hosted by the Democratic National Committee.

He says, “I want to apologize to my supporters. This is not the type of campaign that we run.”

He says he looks forward to working with Clinton’s campaign on an independent investigation.

Sanders’ campaign fired a worker involved in the data breach.

___

8:37 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is using his opening statement at the Democratic debate to talk about how it is “too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”

That’s an implicit knock on his top rival Hillary Clinton, a former first lady and secretary of state.

In his opening statement, Sanders wove foreign policy into his better-known campaign remarks about income inequality, “corrupt” campaign-finance and climate change.

Sanders also says he wants to fight and defeat the Islamic State without getting the U.S. involved in “perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East.”

He says he would do that primarily by supporting Muslim troops on the ground.

___

8:35 p.m.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says the U.S. must never surrender to the “fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.”

O’Malley is alluding to Republican front-runner Donald Trump as he gives his opening statement in the third Democratic presidential debate.

He says the U.S. must not surrender to terrorists, but also must not surrender to racists.

He says the enduring symbol of the U.S. is not a barbed wire fence but the Statue of Liberty.

Trump has proposed building a border fence with Mexico and barring Muslims from entering the U.S. O’Malley is drawing a contrast by saying the U.S. faces dangers from terrorists but also from abandoning its values in its response.

___

8:33 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is setting her sights on Republicans rather than her primary opponents in the third Democratic presidential debate.

Clinton used her opening remarks to urge voters to prevent Republicans from “rolling back” Obama administration proposals, including his signature health care law and tax breaks.

She said, “We have distinct differences between those of us on the stage tonight and all of our Republican counterparts.”

Clinton says Democrats have “a lot of work to do” to explain where their party stands to voters.

___

8:32 p.m.

The final Democratic debate of the year is underway, and the candidates are delivering opening statements.

___

8:25 p.m.

The third Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential campaign is about to get started at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley will be on stage.

They’ve run a relatively civil campaign so far. But that could change after Friday’s flare-up between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns and the Democratic National Committee.

Clinton’s campaign accuses the Sanders camp of stealing valuable voter information it stored on a DNC database.

The Sanders campaign denies the charge, even it admits staff members did improperly review voter information belonging to Clinton. One staffer was fired.

For Clinton, the question is how forcefully to confront Sanders whether to defend the DNC, which temporarily cut off the Vermont senator’s access to the party’s voter database.

Sanders’ campaign filed a lawsuit against the DNC.

The issue never went to court. The DNC said early Saturday the Sanders campaign had complied with its request for information about the incident.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

12/19/2015 11:01:04 PM (GMT -5:00)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s