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Dec 18, 2015 6:56 PM

Democratic presidential race explodes after data breach

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Democratic race for president unexpectedly exploded with rancor Friday, as Hillary Clinton's campaign accused rival Bernie Sanders of stealing millions of dollars worth of information about potential voters.

Sanders team, meanwhile, accused the Democratic Party of holding his White House bid hostage by temporarily barring it from accessing its own voter data. His campaign filed a lawsuit to get it back and aggressively tried to turn the allegations into a political advantage.

"This information is really key to our campaign and our strategy," said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. "We are particularly disturbed right now that they are using the fact that they stole data as a reason to raise money for their campaign."

The reaction to the data breach, the depth of which was debated by all involved, tore open an ugly fault line between two camps that had so far engaged in a relatively civil campaign.

On the eve of the party's next presidential debate, it also thrust into the open longstanding suspicions among Sanders and his supporters that the national party is unfairly working to support Clinton's candidacy.

"Clearly, in this case, they are trying to help the Clinton campaign," an enraged Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said of the Democratic National Committee.

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