Debate cast guide: Live from Des Moines, it's Saturday night

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Can Sanders Upstage Clinton at Next Debate?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democrats' debate lineup is down to a tidy trio, now that two of their presidential candidates have quit the race.

That should make it easier to keep the debaters straight: the woman, the socialist and ... who's that other guy? Oh yeah, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The new math gives O'Malley, barely registering in polls so far, better odds of getting noticed Saturday night in this second go-round for Democrats.

A guide to the personalities taking the stage in Des Moines, Iowa, for the CBS broadcast:

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HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Key features: Nearly everybody recognizes her. She's the only candidate who's lived in the White House already, as first lady.

A quick sketch:

— Daughter of a fabric store owner and a homemaker living in the Chicago suburbs.

— Met her future husband and future president, Bill Clinton, at Yale Law School.

— After serving as first lady of Arkansas and then of the U.S., elected to Senate from New York.

— Early Democratic front-runner in '08, lost presidential nomination to Barack Obama.

— Both praised and criticized in four years as Obama's secretary of state.

Also of note:

Clinton has hung onto her front-runner status in the party despite congressional investigations into her use of a private email server as secretary of state and the fatal attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on her watch. She's also faced questions about big donations from foreigners accepted by the Clinton family's charitable foundation.

Might Clinton be for you?

Perhaps yes, if you prefer a Democrat who has a more aggressive foreign policy than Obama.

Perhaps no, if you want a president who comes into office untarnished by congressional probes.

Some other distinguishing issues:

— Make public universities affordable and community colleges tuition-free.

— Tighten gun laws by expanding background checks and allowing lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

— Opposes an Obama initiative that she once supported: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

In a nutshell:

Establishment. Early favorite. Second-timer.

See more from the last Democratic debate:

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Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton duking it out during Democratic debates
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Debate cast guide: Live from Des Moines, it's Saturday night
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton argues a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Michigan-Flint, Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Flint, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, reatcs during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, left, speaks at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. To the right is Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speak during a break at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during their MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the New Hampshire primaries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, right, speaks to Bernie Sanders during a break at the Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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)
Bernie Sanders, left, speaks to Hillary Clinton after a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders, left, makes a point as Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, walks by Bernie Sanders during a commercial break at a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2015, file photo, Bernie Sanders makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The Democratic presidential candidates are meeting for their third debate on Dec. 19, with tensions suddenly boiling between Hillary Clinton and her chief rival, Sanders. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley appear before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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)
Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, left, and Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, participate in the first Democratic presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. While tonight's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Josh Haner/Pool via Bloomberg
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont,, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton laugh during the CNN Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton shake hands at the end of a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - October 13: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pictured at the 2015 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
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BERNIE SANDERS

Key features: He's an independent senator from Vermont who calls himself a Scandinavian-style democratic socialist.

A quick sketch:

— Son of a Polish immigrant father; raised in Brooklyn with the accent to prove it.

— A student civil rights activist at the University of Chicago in the '60s.

— Unseated the Democratic mayor of Burlington, Vermont, by 10 votes in 1981.

— Elected to U.S. House in 1990; Congress' longest-serving independent.

— Early and vocal opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Also of note:

Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, but he's never been a Democrat. He represented an anti-war third party in four unsuccessful races for office in Vermont in the 1970s. He was elected Burlington mayor as an independent. He caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, but he's called both the Democratic and Republican parties tools of the wealthy.

Might Sanders be for you?

Perhaps yes, if you want a president to tackle income inequality as "the great moral issue of our time."

Perhaps no, if you want government to get smaller, not bigger.

Some other distinguishing issues:

— Create a "Medicare for all" single-payer universal health care program.

— Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

— Make tuition free at public colleges and universities.

In a nutshell:

Socialist. Populist. Politically independent.

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MARTIN O'MALLEY

Key features: He's a former Maryland governor who champions data-driven leadership — and sings, too.

A quick sketch:

— Father was a suburban D.C. lawyer; mother's been a congressional staffer for nearly three decades.

— Met his wife while they were University of Maryland law students.

— Elected Baltimore mayor at age 36, he took a statistics-heavy approach to reducing crime.

— During two terms as governor, ending in January, he signed laws legalizing gay marriage, repealing the death penalty.

— The longtime frontman of a Celtic rock band, he sometimes sings and plays guitar at campaign events.

Also of note:

One of the achievements O'Malley boasts about — dramatically reducing Baltimore's high crime rate as mayor — is getting new scrutiny in a time of national "Black Lives Matter" protests. Critics contend that O'Malley's zero-tolerance anti-crime policies fostered a culture of harassment and abuse of black citizens that they blame for the death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody in April.

Might O'Malley be for you?

Perhaps yes, if you want to shield people in the country illegally from deportation until immigration law is overhauled.

Perhaps no, if you dislike his history of raising taxes.

Some other distinguishing issues:

— Increase Social Security benefits for seniors by raising payroll taxes on high earners.

— Toughen gun laws, including requiring a background check with fingerprints for every gun sale.

— Tighten banking rules and break up big banks to end potential for bailouts.

In a nutshell:

Policy wonk. Liberal. Young voter strategy.

More coverage of the Democratic candidates:
Party insiders give Clinton early, commanding delegate edge
Donald Trump goes after Bernie Sanders in new attack video
Fiorina blasts 'liberal media' double standard over Clinton supporter threatening to strangle her

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