The final Democratic debate before a series of important contests takes place on Thursday night in New York.
Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders are facing off in Brooklyn, with less than a week before the crucial New York primary.
The debate comes as the two campaigns have ratcheted up their aggressive rhetoric toward each other.
In the week leading up to the debate, Clinton’s campaign attempted to paint Sanders as soft on details beyond his populist economic talking points, citing a contentious New York Daily News interview that Sanders’ wife dubbed “more of an inquisition.”
“I think he hadn’t done his homework and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood,” Clinton said on MSNBC last week, “and that does raise a lot of questions.”
She continued: “Really what it goes to is for voters to ask themselves: Can he deliver what he is talking about? Can he really help people? Can he help our economy? Can he keep our country strong?”
Sanders, in turn, responded with some of his fiercest rhetoric of the campaign, openly suggesting that she was not “qualified” for the presidency before reversing himself. He also has amped up his questioning of Clinton’s support for the war in Iraq and has accused the former secretary of state’s campaign of going negative.
“I think the Clinton campaign has made it public, basically, they told the media, that here in New York they’re about to become very negative, about to beat us up,” Sanders said in a CNN interview that aired last Sunday.
“I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make,” he added.
While the Empire State has been largely an afterthought for political primaries for decades, the relatively close elections on both sides have drawn candidates here for major and consequential campaign events.
Most polls show Clinton with a reliably large lead over the Vermont senator. Polls released this week found her up just more than 10 points over Sanders.
Still, the Vermont senator has cut Clinton’s state lead in half over the past two months, and is hoping to keep Clinton from expanding her large delegate lead.
We’ll have full coverage of the debate on Business Insider. Check back for updates throughout the night.