Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speak during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and her main rival Sen. Bernie Sanders clashed over U.S. involvement in the Middle East, gun control and economic policy in the first Democratic presidential debate, outlining competing visions for a party seeking to keep the White House for a third straight term.Yet in a moment of political unity -- and levity -- Sanders leapt to Clinton's defense in Tuesday night's debate on the issue of her controversial email practices as secretary of state. A smiling Clinton reached over to shake his hand and said, "Thank you, Bernie".The debate was unlikely to shake up a race in which Clinton leads Sanders by double digits in national polls and remains the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination due to her financial and organizational advantages.Sanders has sought in particular to distinguish himself from Clinton over foreign policy, an issue where she is often more hawkish than others in the Democratic Party.Joining Clinton and Sanders on stage in Las Vegas was a trio of low-polling candidates looking for a breakthrough moment: former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley; Jim Webb, a former Navy secretary and U.S. senator from Virginia, and former senator and governor Lincoln Chafee, the Republican-turned independent-turned Democrat from Rhode Island.
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