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Democrats to Debate Tonight in South Carolina

Written By David D'Angelo on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | 1/22/2008

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

Racial issues are sure to come up Monday night as the Democratic presidential candidates debate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in South Carolina, the first state of the campaign season with a significant number of black voters.

Barack Obama, the Illinois senator who would be the nation's first black president, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards will confront each other in the two-hour debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and CNN.

One of the most-talked-about figures in the Democratic campaign won't be on stage, but he may well be discussed.

Former President Clinton has become his wife's strongest defender as she campaigns against Obama for the Democratic nomination. In fact, Obama says he feels as if he's running against both Clintons, tussling with her for votes while fighting off allegations from her husband.

"We've got a formidable opponent, actually two formidable opponents at this point between Senator Clinton and President Clinton," Obama said in an interview aired Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

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