Staking out positions….
Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday staked out their positions against front-runner Hillary Clinton ahead of the party’s first primary debate, challenging her stances of such issues as trade, domestic oil and gay marriage.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, ahead of the debate Tuesday, made the case that he has been steady in his views on U.S. trade deals and other policy issues while Clinton, a former secretary of state, has flip-flopped.
“People will have to contrast my consistency against the secretary’s,” Sanders said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Sanders, Clinton’s closest challenger, also argued that he has never liked a single U.S. trade deal, while Clinton last week opposed President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, which she backed as the country’s top diplomat.
Clinton leads Sanders, an Independent, by double digits in essentially every national poll, but trails him 41-to-32 percent among likely Democratic voters in early-voting state New Hampshire, according to a NBC News/Marist poll released last week.
Vice President Joe Biden, who still has an open invitation to join Tuesday’s debate from host CNN, got 16 percent in New Hampshire, in the poll.