With New York on their minds, Democrats trade fresh attacks

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders opened fresh, fierce attacks against one another Monday as they campaigned across New York ahead of the state's primary next Tuesday.

Clinton criticized Sanders for his mixed record on immigration reforms and said he has struggled to detail his positions on foreign policy and financial regulation.

"I have noticed that under the bright spotlight and scrutiny here in New York, Sen. Sanders has had trouble answering questions," she told reporters after a campaign event at an Indian restaurant in Queens.

Sanders then slammed Clinton for promoting fracking as U.S. secretary of state. The oil and gas drilling method, reviled by environmentalists, has been banned in New York.

The harsher tone comes just days before they will meet on stage for the first Democratic primary debate in more than a month. Their contest has taken a decidedly negative turn, with the candidates questioning each other's qualifications for the White House.

Clinton has avoided directly calling for Sanders to exit the race, but she denounced the aggressive tone that some of his supporters have taken toward her.

"There seems to be a growing level of anxiety in that campaign, which I hope doesn't spill over into the way that his supporters treat other people," she said.

In the April 19 New York primary, Clinton seeks to avoid the political blow of losing the state she represented for eight years in the Senate.

Sanders is hoping to turn a streak of wins into momentum to cut into Clinton's lead in delegates for the party's nominating convention.

He needs to win 68 percent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates if he hopes to clinch the nomination. That would require large victories by Sanders in upcoming big states and small, including the New York primary.

His aides say he plans to stay in the race until the party convention in July.

Meanwhile, Republican front-runner Donald Trump echoed Sanders' claims that the system is "rigged," erupting on Fox News over his loss of recently allocated delegates in Colorado to rival Ted Cruz.

The Texas senator spent Monday campaigning in California, a state that holds presidential primaries for both parties on June 7, the last day of primary voting.

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Ronayne reported from Binghamton, New York. Steve Peoples in Irvine, California, and Vivian Salama in Washington contributed to this report.

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