Democrats rally behind Hillary Clinton over e-mail furore

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives a thumbs up as she walks away from her podium as rival US Senator Bernie Sanders (left) looks on.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives a thumbs up as she walks away from her podium as rival US Senator Bernie Sanders (left) looks on.PHOTO: REUTERS

LAS VEGAS (AFP) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received surprise respite from attacks over her use of a private e-mail server as US top diplomat, with rivals becoming unlikely defenders during a Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday (Oct 13).

"Enough of the e-mails!" said an exasperated would-be nominee Bernie Sanders, Mrs Clinton's closest rival in party polls, in response to a moderator's questioning.

"The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails," he said turning to Clinton.

"Thank you. Me too. Me too," the former first lady replied.

The Democratic frontrunner is facing an FBI investigation after using a private e-mail server while serving as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.

Mrs Clinton has faced tough questions about whether she inappropriately sent and received highly sensitive material, and whether sufficient security measures were in place to protect her server from hackers.

The issue has dogged her for months, with foes suggesting it is just one of many scandals that have hurt the White House hopeful and her former president husband Bill Clinton over decades.

The former top diplomat bristled when asked about the issue and painted a Congressional panel that made the discovery as being politically motivated.

"I've taken responsibility" she said. "I did say it was a mistake."

Ahead of her Congressional testimony before a Republican-dominated panel, Mrs Clinton insisted: "I'll answer their questions. But tonight I want to talk not about my e-mails but about what the American people want for the next President of the United States."

That prompted Mr Sanders to chime in: "I think the secretary is right."