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US Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate Iraq, Immigration

Democratic candidates for next year's U.S. presidential election highlighted their differences on the war in Iraq and other issues in a televised debate Sunday evening in the northeastern state of New Hampshire.

While each of the eight contenders favored ending the Iraq war, Senator Barack Obama pointed out that he was against the war from its beginning.

Senator Hillary Clinton, who voted to give President Bush the authority to go to war in 2003, said she now believes Democrats must stop the war because President Bush, a Republican, will not end it on his own.

Former Senator John Edwards criticized both Clinton and Obama for failures of leadership in the effort to bring the war to a close.

Domestic issues, including immigration and health care were also covered.

Ten Republican Party presidential candidates will take part in a similar debate on June 5 at the same location.

A new opinion poll, the Washington Post-ABC News finds Clinton leading the Democratic field with 42 percent support. Obama is second with 27 percent, and Edwards is third with 11 percent.

According to the poll, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani leads the Republicans with 34 percent. Senator John McCain is next at 20 percent.

The telephone survey of more than 1,200 adults was conducted May 29 to June 1. The margin of error is plus or minus three percent.

This is the Democrats' second debate.

The state of New Hampshire is the site of much early presidential campaign activity because it traditionally holds the first primary election of the year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.