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Democratic Candidates Prepare To Debate In Miami


The Democratic race for president is more interesting today than Hillary Clinton might've hoped. With Bernie Sanders' win in Michigan last night, Clinton hasn't lost ground in the race for delegates, but Sanders' argument that he can compete and possibly even win the nomination has gotten a boost. With barely a chance to catch their breath from yesterday's contest, Clinton and Sanders are meeting tonight for another debate. It's in Miami, Fla., one of the big states that's up for grabs next Tuesday. NPR's Tamara Keith is following the Democratic race, and she is with us now. Hello, Tam.


MCEVERS: One of the biggest issues for voters in Michigan last night was trade. How do you expect that argument to play out with tonight's - in tonight's debate?

KEITH: I expect Bernie Sanders to keep talking about that issue. It really worked well for him in Michigan. The exit polls show that. And states that are up on Tuesday also include Ohio and Missouri, where he can expect that message to resonate as well. And you can expect Clinton to argue her position on trade is as good as anybody's, that she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that she voted against trade deals as a senator. Sanders would hit back that she was sort of late to that party. And the Clinton campaign admits that maybe they didn't do as good a job as they should have in describing her economic agenda, so you're going to see her try to take another bite at that apple in tonight's debate.

MCEVERS: What else do you think they're going to talk about?

KEITH: Immigration. They're definitely going to talk about immigration. The debate is cosponsored by Univision. And in the last couple of days, their surrogates have been holding conference calls and fighting back and forth about which candidate would be better for the nation's immigrants and which one would have a better immigration policy. And also, Bernie Sanders has a big ad going up on Spanish-language TV on Univision tomorrow night.

MCEVERS: Well, tell us more about that. It's a five-minute ad on Univision, as you said, the largest Spanish-language network in the country. What is the message?

KEITH: It is going to air in primetime nationwide. It has very strong imagery. It follows a Mexican immigrant mother who worked in tomato fields. And I just want to play a little bit of it so you can get a feel for the ad.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Speaking Spanish).

KEITH: And she's talking about how the wages were so low that she had trouble feeding her family. And Sen. Bernie Sanders took an interest in the tomato workers in Florida, and the ad talks about that. So it is a beautifully shot ad, and people all over America will be seeing it tomorrow night in prime time.

MCEVERS: As we know, Bernie Sanders won Michigan last night by two percentage points. He told my co-host, Ari Shapiro, elsewhere in the show today that some observers are calling it one of the biggest upsets in the history of American politics. What is Clinton's campaign saying about that?

KEITH: They are saying that they wouldn't call it one of the biggest upsets in the history of American politics. They say, you know, they are sticking with their strategy. They have a delegate strategy. And because she won overwhelmingly in Mississippi last night, she actually came ahead with more delegates. Looking ahead, they say they do expect Sen. Sanders to continue winning states but that the delegate math - and NPR has done our own delegate math - the delegate math still strongly favors Clinton. She has a very big lead in so-called pledged delegates.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Tamara Keith. Thanks so much.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.

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