LIVE: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debate one-on-one

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Clinton Vs. Sanders on Health Care Reform

Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders take an increasingly combative tone into their first one-on-one debate on Thursday, cranking up a fight over who is best suited to lead the party's liberal agenda on the economy and healthcare.

Five days before New Hampshire voters render a judgment in the second of the state-by-state presidential nominating contests, Clinton and Sanders will square off on MSNBC at 9 p.m. EST in Durham, New Hampshire.

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Polls show Sanders, a U.S. senator from neighboring Vermont, has a comfortable lead over Clinton in New Hampshire after surprising the front-runner by managing a virtual tie with her in the kickoff contest in Iowa on Monday.

In the two days since, the Democrats have clashed sharply over who is more capable of carrying out the party's liberal proposals to battle income inequality, bolster healthcare coverage and rein in Wall Street.

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Democratic Debate, Feb 4 2016
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LIVE: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debate one-on-one
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton wave to audience members after a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
US Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (R) and Bernie Sanders shake hands as they participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participates in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / Jewel Samad / ALTERNATE CROP (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton arrives on stage before participating in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD / ALTERNATE CROP (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / US Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (R) and Bernie Sanders chat during a break as they participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
An audience member listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate between Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton spar during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders leaves the stage during a break as he participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate with Hillary Clinton at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes her opening statement during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton smile during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / US Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (R) and Bernie Sanders participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participates in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate with Bernie Sanders at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, listens as Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton answers a question during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, listens to Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's opening statement during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shake hands at the start of 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.Ã (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, shakes hands as they greet the audience before the audience before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: The stage is set for the start of the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016. Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates are stumping for votes throughout New Hampshire leading up to the primary on February 9. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, greet the audience before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) stand next to each other at the start of 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.Ã (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) stand next to each other at the start of 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.Ã (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, makes his opening statement as Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / US Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (R) and Bernie Sanders participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on February 4, 2016. Clinton and Sanders face off on February 4, in the first debate since their bruising Iowa clash that the former secretary of state won by a hair, as they gear for a battle royale in New Hampshire. / AFP / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, pose for a photo before debating at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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The exchanges intensified ahead of the debate, which will be the first since former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley dropped out on Monday night. It also is one of four debates Clinton and Sanders agreed to add to the schedule.

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10:48 p.m. ET -- The candidates took differing takes on the death penalty after Maddow asks Clinton if she supports capital punishment. Clinton says she does only for "heinous crimes," mentioning Timothy McVeigh as a particular example. Sanders followed up insisting he cannot support the death penalty because the government should not be involved in killing citizens.

10:33 p.m. ET -- Chuck Todd asked Clinton about whether or not she was worried that the email crisis may become an achilles heel for her, noting that voters in New Hampshire say they worry the scandal is hurting her polling numbers. Clinton responds by insisting, "Before it was emails it was Benghazi." She then turned to talk about the recent news that Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell were also caught up in a similar problem in which information they emailed about was classified after the fact. "I have absolutely no concerns about it whatsoever," she said.

SEE ALSO: The lineup for the next GOP debate is out -- and one notable name is missing

10:11 p.m. ET -- Clinton, Sanders, and moderators tussle over foreign policy, with Clinton reviving her "3am call" attack, with a comment about how "you never know what's going to come through the door" as president. Sanders lobs back, knocking her over her vote to authorize the Iraq War compared to his vote against it. She follows up with a quip about how "a vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS."

9:43 p.m. ET -- Sanders took on the banks, arguing they should be broken up. "If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, what he would say is, 'Break them up,'" Sanders said. Clinton counters by insisting Dodd-Frank helps to protect against the troubles that the banks could cause.

9:29 p.m. ET -- Fireworks started and the crowd eventually erupted into a series of boos and cheers after Sanders lobbed thinly veiled criticism at Clinton for taking money from Super PACs, prompting her to punch back and complain about his attacks, defending her decision to take money from those groups and corporate speaking fees and insisting she never once changed a vote over that.

9:21 p.m. ET -- Moderator Rachel Maddow pointedly asked Sanders how he can be a Democrat given that he has been an Independent for decades in the Senate, which he bluntly responded to by pointing out that he has for years caucused with the Democrats in the Senate, and even been elected to serve as a committee chair by Democrats. He also said he wants to see the Democratic party change and open itself up.

9:15 p.m. ET -- Clinton countered criticism she has received from Sanders and his supporters who question her progressive credentials, saying that by his standard President Obama does not count as a progressive and suggesting that by another standard Sanders' decision to vote against the gun control Brady bill isn't necessarily progressive.

9:11 p.m. ET -- Clinton and Sanders battled over health care to start. She said she wanted to build on the success of Obamacare rather than changing it and removing the security of coverage it has offered 18 million Americans. Sanders pointed to the example of Europe, where many have universal health care and pay less for it.

9:03 p.m. ET -- Sanders kicks off the night decrying America's "rigged economy." Clinton counters in her statement, focusing on a broader range of issues, including economic and racial disparities, and vowing to not make promises that she cannot keep.

(Reporting by AOL.com with additional reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Bill Trott)

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