The next Democratic debate is scheduled for Saturday night on CBS with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley participating. At the first Democratic debate, it appeared Sanders didn’t come out swinging as hard as expected which left the race with Clinton gaining some ground. As a result, Sanders is planning a strategy to highlight the major differences he has with the Democratic front-runner when it comes to specific policies and Wall Street.

Report from USAToday:

When he and Clinton face off again on Saturday in Des Moines, Sanders will portray himself as more willing to take on Wall Street and better able to reform a corrupt campaign finance system, said Tad Devine, Sanders’ senior adviser. Sanders also may try to raise questions about Clinton’s commitment to progressive positions Sanders has promoted for years regarding trade and the environment.

“She and I have very different points of view of on a number of issues,” Sanders told the Burlington (Vt. Free Press recently. “Also, how we came to our point of view — and when we came to our point of view — is something that I think the voters in the Democratic primary process should know about, and they will know about.”

Polls suggest Sanders’ campaign needs a new spark since the country began to “feel the Bern” in August and September. He’s trailing Clinton an average 21.6 percentage points in national polls, according to RealClear Politics. In Iowa, the first caucus state, he’s behind by an average 24 points, and the race has become competitive in the first primary state of New Hampshire, where Sanders had held a comfortable lead in September and mid-October.

Sanders must do two things: Sell himself as the true progressive in the race, and convince voters that Democrats can win in 2016 without Hillary Clinton on the ballot. I’m convinced that many Democrats simply fear losing out on the Clinton juggernaut if they go with a perceived weaker-named candidate like Sanders or O’Malley.

Martin O’Malley is still in the race though his polling hovers around two to three percent nationally. With Joe Biden officially out, it looks like most of that support went back to Clinton and perhaps some to Sanders.

The debate on Saturday night airs at 9pm ET (6pm PT) on CBS stations nationally and will stream at CBSNews.com.

3 COMMENTS

    • He claims he’s tackling it like he does the same way he hosts Face the Nation. But yeah, it’s a little odd to me since it’s basically going over what topics will be discussed beforehand.

      What happened to a straight question and answer session where candidates must think on their feet?

      He’s hosting a GOP debate in February. I’d expect him to approach the same way.

      • Of course, this approach could also be to get the dirt on other candidates–things a candidate doesn’t want to say–but would like said.

        For instance, Bush destroyed himself by saying Rubio was missing too many votes in the senate. That allowed Rubio to turn it around and made Bush look ridiculous.

        But if a moderator had said it, Rubio’s comments about other candidates missing votes would have just sounded like making excuses (which it was). For a rookie senator to avoid doing his job to try to get a higher job is ridiculous.

        And, of course, if the “evil media” asked the question, Bush could have piped up, supposedly supporting Rubio, but in a way that really reinforced the complaint.

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