Sanders Saves Clinton From Email Questions, But Benghazi Testimony Looms

At the first Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, front-runner Hillary Clinton avoided tough scrutiny over her email practices as secretary of state, in part thanks to support from rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, but a highly-anticipated congressional hearing next week will likely prove to be more of a challenge.

Clinton attempted to brush off questions about the matter as a partisan attack led by Republicans in Congress, but Cooper pushed back that the FBI is investigating and President Barack Obama recently acknowledged it is a legitimate issue.

When Cooper asked Sanders for his opinion, the self-proclaimed Democratic socialist replied, "Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing" about Clinton's emails.

"She didn't have to handle the email question," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell. "Bernie got rid of it for her...He basically said, 'Email scandal be gone.'"

O'Connell said he has never seen a candidate dig their opponent out of the mud like that before. With the ongoing FBI investigation and additional emails being released regularly, he doubts Sanders' comments will silence the issue.

"That may work in the Democratic primary, but this is not going away for Hillary Clinton."

When Clinton appears before the Republican-led House committee next week, she will face much more hostile and skeptical opponents, though. She will also almost certainly be speaking to a much smaller audience than the record 15.3 million people who tuned in for Tuesday's debate, so it may not have as much impact.

"That's not going to be a great spectacle for her," O'Connell said.

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at Sinclair Broadcast Group

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