Democratic candidates to appear at Des Moines forum

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A week out from the lead-off Iowa caucuses, the Democratic presidential candidates will make their closing pitches Monday night at a televised forum in Des Moines.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are set to appear at the CNN town hall at Drake University. Each will appear on stage for thirty minutes and will field questions from a news anchor and the audience.

All three have been zig-zagging the state in recent days, trying to shore up support before the Feb. 1 caucus. Clinton and Sanders are locked in tight race, with O’Malley lagging far behind.

The latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll found Clinton with 42 percent, Sanders with 40 percent and O’Malley with just 4 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers. The poll, conducted between Jan. 7 and 10, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, suggesting it could be a toss-up between the former secretary of state and the Vermont senator.

Sanders is running with a promise of political revolution. He held several events in Iowa Monday, including an emotional town meeting in Iowa Falls, where he sought personal stories from attendees about living in poverty.

“This is the United States of America, everybody,” Sanders said. “This is the wealthiest country in the history of the world and millions of our people are unable to receive the most basic necessities of life.”

Former Secretary of State Clinton is offering herself as a pragmatic option, who can build on President Barack Obama’s legacy and manage Washington gridlock.

“I believe I have the experience, the judgment and the vision to get us back moving, further than we got with President Obama,” Clinton said Sunday during an event in Marion.

O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, has struggled to win support in the race, despite aggressive campaigning in Iowa.

The event comes after Obama weighed in on the race interview with Politico’s “Off Message” podcast, though he stopped short of endorsing. Obama praised Sanders for energizing liberals while saying that Clinton’s perceived dominance had been both an advantage and a burden.