Democratic White House contender Bernie Sanders put front-runner Hillary Clinton on the defensive at a debate on Sunday, criticizing her for accepting speaking fees from Wall Street investors and sparring with her over healthcare.
Sanders highlighted his own rise in opinion polls and showed a new level of fight at the most contentious of the four debates in the race to find a Democratic presidential nominee. It was their last face-to-face encounter before Iowa's caucuses on Feb. 1.
Clinton, who leads in polls nationally but has seen Sanders gain in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, tried to raise questions repeatedly about the self-styled democratic socialist's positions on Wall Street reform, healthcare and gun control.
Sanders pushed back at every turn. He said Clinton had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees as a former secretary of state from Wall Street backers.
"I don't take money from big banks. I don't get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs," the U.S. senator from Vermont said, adding, "I have huge doubts when people receive money from Wall Street."
He referred to his rising poll numbers in saying he believed he could expand his number of supporters to include more African-American voters, noting that when his presidential campaign began, Clinton was 50 percentage points ahead of him in the polls.