DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is looking to upset Hillary Clinton in Monday’s caucuses in Iowa, where Sanders’ campaign has energized young voters and liberals as the Democratic race has evolved into a surprisingly heated contest. Here’s a quick look at some things to know about him.

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THE BRIEF

Championing the perils of income inequality, Sanders has risen from an obscure independent senator into a movement presidential candidate for liberals wary of Clinton’s record and Wall Street ties. Sanders has spoken before massive crowds — one rally in Portland, Oregon, last summer filled an arena with 19,000 people while another 9,000 waited outside.

A self-described “democratic socialist,” Sanders has expressed admiration for Scandinavian-style policies. His supporters cite his passion and authenticity and his pitch for tighter Wall Street restrictions, debt-free college and universal health care has touched a nerve with Democrats. But now he faces his biggest hurdle: Can he beat Clinton?

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RESUME REVIEW

Sanders was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while attending the University of Chicago in the early 1960s. He joined the 1963 March on Washington and witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He later joined an influx of counterculture, back-to-the-land migrants to Vermont and held various jobs, including as a carpenter and filmmaker.

Running as an independent in 1981, he upset the longtime incumbent mayor of Burlington, Vermont, by 10 votes and ran the city for the rest of the decade. Sanders won Vermont’s lone congressional seat in 1990 and was elected to the Senate in 2006. He remained an independent, but caucuses with Democrats and serves as ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

Sanders gained attention in December 2010 when he took to the Senate floor and thundered for more than eight hours about a tax-cut package and what he called Congress’ failure to provide enough money for education and social programs. With trademark sarcasm, he mocked the rich, yelling: “How can I get by on one house? I need five houses, 10 houses! I need three jet planes to take me all over the world!” The speech was so popular it crashed the Senate video server and was later published.

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SIGNATURE ISSUE

Sanders has injected the plight of income inequality and struggling middle-class families into the Democratic campaign. At rallies, he argues big Wall Street banks were responsible for the economic meltdown in 2008 and 2009 and must be broken up because they have grown larger after the federal government bailed out the financial sector. He says the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case allowed millionaires and billionaires to “buy” elections and tells audiences he doesn’t have a super PAC “and doesn’t want one.”

Sanders has championed debt-free college and a “Medicare for all” universal health care system, saying he would pay for his plans by sharply raising taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street transactions. He has vowed not to run a negative campaign, but has drawn sharp contrasts with Clinton on an array of issues, from the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and Clinton’s Wall Street ties, including her acceptance of speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.

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DEBATE DIGEST

Sanders gained attention during the first presidential debate when he blew off discussion of Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. Clinton and the audience cheered and she shook his hand, telling him, “Thank you, Bernie.”

But he has since been more forceful in drawing distinctions.

During their final debate in South Carolina, Sanders and Clinton at times shouted over each other and grappled over gun violence and Clinton’s Wall Street speaking fees. Sanders also was forced to defend his health care plan, which would be funded by higher taxes on the wealthy as well as middle class families. Clinton argued that reopening the health care debate would put President Barack Obama’s signature health care law at risk.

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MOMENT TO REMEMBER

Sanders’ most memorable moment perhaps came during the first debate, with his cranky one-liner dismissing Clinton’s use of a private email system at the State Department.

“Let me say something that may not be great politics,” Sanders said, “but I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”

Sanders later said he didn’t regret his decision not to raise the issue, which he said showed that he was trying to run a different kind of campaign. But it helped him in popular culture when Larry David spoofed him on “Saturday Night Live.”

——

PLEASE FORGET

Sanders struggled early on with activists, including protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement.

During a forum in Arizona, he appeared after a large group of protesters took over the stage as ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was addressing the Netroots Nation convention. When he took the stage, Sanders struggled to speak over the protesters: “Black lives of course matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and if you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK.”

During an August stop in Seattle, Sanders also had an event disrupted when a pair of Black Lives Matter activists took the stage and refused to allow him to speak.

——

ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/BernieSanders

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/berniesanders/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/berniesanders/

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For the Republican candidates for president, it was a glimpse of what could have been.

Front-runner Donald Trump’s boycott of the final debate before the Iowa caucuses created space for his rivals to delve more deeply into their differences on immigration, foreign policy and their approach to governing.

And for some candidates — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in particular — Trump’s absence from the debate stage Thursday night appeared to ease some of the tension created by his sharply personal attacks.

A frequent target of Trump, Bush opened the debate by saying wryly, “I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me.”

Iowa voters kick off the 2016 nominating process with Monday’s caucuses, and they’ll provide the first indication of whether Trump’s abrupt decision to skip the debate will have any impact on his standing atop the GOP field. His lead in Iowa had already become more tenuous in recent days, as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pulled in support from conservative and evangelical voters.

Trump’s decision to pull out of the debate over a feud with host Fox News was a gamble, particularly so close to the state of voting. But having defied political convention throughout his campaign, it was a risk the real estate mogul was willing to take.

He still looked to steal attention away from his rivals with a competing rally elsewhere in Des Moines, an event he said raised $6 million for military veterans.

“When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights,” Trump said in explaining his boycott. Broadening his point, he said, “We have to stick up for ourselves as people and we have to stick up for our country if we’re being mistreated.”

Trump’s absence put the spotlight on Cruz, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, as well, who needs a strong showing in Iowa in order to stay in the top tier of candidates.

The two senators were confronted with video clips suggesting they had changed their positions on immigration, one of the most contentious issues among Republicans. While each insisted the other had flip-flopped, both denied they had switched their own views on allowing some people in the U.S. illegally to stay.

Cruz accused Rubio of making a “politically advantageous” decision to support a 2013 Senate bill that included a pathway to citizenship, while the Florida senator said his Texas rival was “willing to say or do anything to get votes.”

“This is the lie that Ted’s campaign is built on,” Rubio said. “That he’s the most conservative guy.”

In a rare standout debate moment for Bush, the former Florida governor sharply sided with Cruz in accusing Rubio of having “cut and run” on the Senate immigration bill.

“He cut and run because it wasn’t popular with conservatives,” said Bush, who was more consistent in this debate than in previous outings.

Cruz was put on the spot over his opposition to ethanol subsidies that support Iowa’s powerful corn industry — a position that has long been considered politically untenable for presidential candidates in the state. The Texas senator cast his position as an effort to keep the government from picking economic winners and losers.

With their White House hopes on the line, the candidates worked hard to present themselves as best prepared to be commander in chief and take on terror threats.

Rubio struck an aggressive posture, pledging that as president he would go after terrorists “wherever they are. And if we capture them alive, they are going to Guantanamo.” Rubio also stood by his previous calls for shutting down mosques in the U.S. if there were indications the Muslim religious centers were being used to radicalize terrorists.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — back on the main debate stage after being downgraded to an undercard event because of low poll numbers earlier this month — warned against closing down mosques. A proponent of a more isolationist foreign policy, Paul also raised concerns about the U.S. getting involved militarily in Syria, where the Islamic State group has a stronghold.

The candidates focused some of their most pointed attacks on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“She is not qualified to be president of the United States,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.

Christie is part of a crowded field of more mainstream candidates who have struggled to break through in an election year where Trump, and increasingly Cruz, have tapped into voter anger with the political system. Party leaders have grown increasingly anxious for some of the more traditional candidates to step aside to allow one to rise up and challenge for the nomination.

Asked whether the crowded establishment lane was putting Trump in position to win, Bush said: “We’re just starting out. The first vote hasn’t been counted. Why don’t we let the process work?”

Bush also defended the flurry of critical advertisements his well-funded super PAC has launched against Rubio and other rivals.

“It’s called politics,” Bush said. “That’s the way it is. I’m running hard.”

Bush and Christie, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are looking beyond Iowa and hoping New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary jumpstarts their campaigns. In an election where a lengthy political resume has been a liability, Kasich defended government’s ability to tackle big problems.

“We serve you,” Kasich said of government officials and voters. “You don’t serve us. We listen to you and then we act.”

Cruz proudly claimed he was “not the candidate of career politicians in Washington.” Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has a small but loyal base in Iowa, said that even though he hasn’t been in government, he’s made plenty of life-and-death decisions as a doctor.

“I don’t think you need to be a politician to tell the truth,” he said.

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Associated Press writer Kathleen Ronayne contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace and Jill Colvin on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and http://twitter.com/colvinj

TOKYO (AP) — Sony Corp. reported a 33.5 percent jump in quarterly profit as sales improved in its PlayStation 4 video game business.

Tokyo-based Sony kept its full-year profit projection unchanged Friday at 140 billion yen ($1.2 billion), which would be a reversal from red ink in the previous fiscal year.

Sony recorded a 120 billion yen ($1 billion) October-December profit. Sales for the fiscal third quarter edged up 0.5 percent to 2.58 trillion yen ($21.4 billion).

Sony, which also makes Bravia TVs and Xperia mobile phones, has been undergoing a marathon restructuring to focus on more profitable operations.

Sony’s sales were still struggling in image sensors and mobile communications. But it got a lift from better sales of PS4 game software as well as the machines.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment conglomerate, which also has a music division, benefited from the strong theatrical performances of the films “Spectre” and “Hotel Transylvania 2.”

Sales in its music business improved with the release of Adele’s new album “25.” One Direction’s “Made in the A.M.” was also a strong seller.

The results appeared to show that Sony was gradually getting its restructuring under control, after selling some assets, such as its Vaio personal computer business and its stake in Japanese game maker Square Enix.

But its once strong brand image has lost much of its luster in the face of competition from Apple Inc. in digital music players and smartphones as well as Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea in TVs.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama: twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at: bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Absent Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidates strained to take advantage of a rare opportunity to step out of the front-runner’s shadow in Thursday night’s debate — a staid, policy-heavy contest that offered a glimpse of what the GOP contest might have been without the unpredictable businessman.

Still, the candidates couldn’t resist mocking Trump, who boycotted the final debate before Iowa kicks off voting in the 2016 campaign on Monday.

“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is competing with Trump for the lead in Iowa. Cruz then thanked his fellow candidates for showing Iowa voters respect by showing up.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a frequent target of Trump, said with a wry smile, “I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me.”

Never one to go quietly, Trump held a competing rally elsewhere in Des Moines, an event he said raised $6 million for military veterans.

“When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights,” Trump said in explaining he was skipping the debate because he felt Fox News had dealt with him unfairly. Broadening his point, he said, “We have to stick up for ourselves as people and we have to stick up for our country if we’re being mistreated.”

Trump’s absence put the spotlight on Cruz, as well as on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who needs a strong showing in Iowa in order to stay in the top tier of candidates.

The two senators were confronted with video clips suggesting they had changed their positions on immigration, one of the most contentious issues among Republicans. While each insisted the other had flip-flopped, both denied they had switched their own views allowing some people in the U.S. illegally to stay.

Cruz accused Rubio of making a “politically advantageous” decision to support a 2013 Senate bill that included a pathway to citizenship, while the Florida senator said his rival was “willing to say or do anything to get votes.”

“This is the lie that Ted’s campaign is built on,” Rubio said. “That he’s the most conservative guy.”

In a rare standout debate moment for Bush, the former Florida governor sharply sided with Cruz in accusing Rubio of having “cut and run” on the Senate immigration bill.

“He cut and ran because it wasn’t popular with conservatives,” said Bush.

Cruz was put on the spot over his opposition to ethanol subsidies that support Iowa’s powerful corn industry — a position that has long been considered politically untenable for presidential candidates in the state. The Texas senator cast his position as an effort to keep the government from picking economic winners and losers.

With their White House hopes on the line, the candidates worked hard to present themselves as best prepared to be commander in chief and take on terror threats.

Rubio struck an aggressive posture, pledging that as president he would go after terrorists “wherever they are. And if we capture them alive, they are going to Guantanamo.” Rubio also stood by his previous calls for shutting down mosques in the U.S if there were indications that the Muslim religious centers were being used to radicalize terrorists.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — back on the main debate stage after being downgraded to an undercard event because of low poll numbers earlier this month — warned against closing down mosques. A proponent of a more isolationist foreign policy, Paul also raised concerns about the U.S. getting involved militarily in Syria, where the Islamic State group has a stronghold.

The candidates focused some of their most pointed attacks on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“She is not qualified to be president of the United States,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.

Christie is part of a crowded field of more mainstream candidates who have struggled to break through in an election year where Trump, and increasingly Cruz, have tapped into voter anger with the political system. Party leaders have grown increasingly anxious for some of the more traditional candidates to step aside to allow one to rise up and challenge for the nomination.

Asked whether the crowded establishment lane was putting Trump in position to win, Bush said, “We’re just starting out. The first vote hasn’t been counted. Why don’t we let the process work?”

Bush also defended the flurry of critical advertisements his well-funded super PAC has launched against Rubio and other rivals.

“It’s called politics,” Bush said. “That’s the way it is. I’m running hard.”

Bush and Christie, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are looking beyond Iowa and hoping New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary jumpstarts their campaigns. In an election where a lengthy political resume has been a liability, Kasich defended government’s ability to tackle big problems.

“We serve you,” Kasich said of government officials and voters. “You don’t serve us. We listen to you and then we act.”

Cruz proudly claimed he was “not the candidate of career politicians in Washington.” Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has a small but loyal base in Iowa, said that even though he hasn’t been in government, he’s made plenty of life-and-death decisions as a doctor.

“I don’t think you need to be a politician to tell the truth,” he said.

Trump pulled out this week, citing unfair treatment from host Fox News. He’s feuded with the network for months, particularly anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly.

While Fox covered the debate, other cable channels aired portions of his rally at Drake University, likely pulling away at least some TV viewers.

Trump was joined by fellow candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who spoke briefly at the rally after appearing in an early undercard debate for low-polling candidates. Huckabee told the audience that he, Santorum and Trump are political competitors but “tonight we are colleagues” in supporting veterans.

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AP writer Kathleen Ronayne contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — It was clear, even before it started, that Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate would be dramatically different.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump had voluntarily given up his regular place at center stage. He skipped the debate, preferring to mount a rally across town to punish Fox News Channel for “toying” with him.

The billionaire businessman’s absence was addressed early and then his Republican rivals quickly moved on, getting a far better opportunity to shine. Overall, the two-hour affair featured a sober tone focused more on substance than personality.

There were exceptions, of course, as Ted Cruz defended his authenticity and Marco Rubio faced pointed questions on immigration.

But just days before Iowa’s leadoff caucuses, there were none of the breakout moments that have sometimes characterized the more colorful debates featuring Trump, battling Cruz for first place in the 2016 primary season’s opening contest.

Some takeaways from Thursday’s Republican debate:

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ELEPHANT NOT IN THE ROOM

Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to dominate the stage. There is little doubt he helped his rivals by not showing up.

He was mocked early and largely forgotten. Cruz set the tone with a sarcastic impression of his top rival: “I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly,” Cruz said. Then he thanked his fellow candidates for showing Iowa voters respect by showing up.

“I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me,” said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a frequent target of Trump.

Beyond a few playful jabs, the two-hour debate was a Trump-free zone, one of the few such events in the race so far.

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CRUZ THE FRONT-RUNNER

Cruz fought to make sure he was positioned at center stage in Trump’s absence. And he embraced the role of de facto front-runner at the outset, pointing out that he was being attacked by several rivals — even before there were any pointed exchanges.

Cruz later faced sharp questions on immigration, national security and, perhaps most importantly, whether he was trustworthy. Trust is the theme of the fiery conservative’s campaign, and several candidates questioned his authenticity.

“Ted, throughout this campaign, you’ve been willing to say or do anything in order to get votes,” Rubio charged.

Cruz fought back by accusing Rubio of bending to the will of donors on immigration.

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NO AMNESTY FOR RUBIO

Rubio did not help himself among the conservatives who question his position on immigration. The issue is by far his greatest vulnerability as he tries to convince skeptical GOP activists that he doesn’t support so-called amnesty.

The debate moderators played a series of video clips highlighting Rubio’s apparent shift on the issue, which put the first-term senator on the defensive at the outset of a key exchange.

At best, Rubio may have clouded the issue of whether he had backed off his earlier calls for comprehensive legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship.

But rival Jeb Bush seemed to get the best of him in an exchange in which Bush questioned Rubio’s retreat on the issue.

“You shouldn’t cut and run,” Bush charged.

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BUSH CLOUDS LANE

Bush repeatedly beat back questions about his long-term viability in the 2016 contest, insisting he has a path to the nomination and would ultimately defeat leading Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“We’re just starting. The first vote hasn’t been counted. Why don’t we let the process work?” Bush said.

Overall, Bush had more success on the debate stage without having to contend with Trump. His strength — and full-steam-ahead approach — was a pointed reminder that the fight for the party’s mainstream wing is far from over.

Bush and Rubio are competing with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to win over the GOP’s centrist wing. Some party officials hoped Rubio would have emerged as the consensus choice by now.

Bush defended rounds of anti-Rubio attack ads.

“This is beanbag compared to what the Clinton hit machine is going to do to the Republican nominee,” Bush said.

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TRUMP’S COUNTERPROGRAMMING

It was a risky move politically, but Donald Trump helped raise $6 million to benefit veterans at an event three miles away from the debate stage.

Instead of going after his rivals on national television, Trump read out the names of wealthy friends who’d pledged major contributions to veterans’ causes. When he announced he’d pledged $1 million himself, the crowd erupted into cheers.

He explained to the Drake University crowd that he had little choice but to skip the debate. Trump admitted he didn’t know if the decision would hurt him in the polls, but tried to cast it as a sign of strength.

“You have to stick up for your rights. When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights,” he said.

As for the debate, Trump predicted it would have far fewer viewers without him on the stage. That may be true, but Iowa voters will decide in four days whether Trump hurt his chances in the 2016 race simply to prove a point.

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Follow Steve Peoples on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/sppeoples

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