On January 26, NBC News and the New Hampshire Union Leader announced plans to hold an unsanctioned debate in New Hampshire on February 4, to be moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow. Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley all received an invitation to the debate, with O'Malley being the first to confirm his participation. On January 31, the DNC officially sanctioned the debate but removed the Union Leader as a sponsor, and each major Democratic candidate confirmed their attendance. O'Malley suspended his campaign after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, thereby leaving Clinton and Sanders as the remaining participants. The debate aired on February 4, 2016, from 9 to 11 pm ET on MSNBC. Commentators of the debate cited the elevated discourse between the candidates. There was discussion on the death penalty (federal versus state), money in politics, and assessing Russia, Iran, and North Korea as threats to national security. Clinton demanded that Sanders explain his "artful smears" of Clinton receiving campaign donations. Sanders responded by critiquing the inherently "quid-pro-quo" nature of Wall Street campaign donations. The exchange between the two candidates was called by Eric Levitz one of the best 10-minute exchanges in the history of American political debates.
|Bernie Sanders||Guest Star|
|Hillary Clinton||Guest Star|
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