THE NEW YORK TIMES |ı| What to Look for When Clinton and Sanders Face Off in the Debate

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.50.53 AMGood Thursday morning. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Hillary Clinton square off  in Milwaukee on Thursday, two days after Mr. Sanders scored an overwhelming victory in the New Hampshire primary, continuing analysis of which can be found on The Timess live blog. The battle for the Democratic nomination is becoming increasingly competitive, which could mean sharper exchanges when the two debate starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time. We asked New York Times political reporters and editors what they would be looking for in the debate.

After her humbling loss in New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton is likely to be the aggressortonight. But I am curious as to how prepared Mr. Sanders will be both for her attacks and when it comes to the detailed questions from the moderators. He has so far used the debates to mostly reiterate his stump speech. Is he capable of being nimble when he faces scrutiny? Jonathan Martin

The next series of primaries, primarily in the South, are supposed to be “Mrs. Clinton’s firewall” because of the large participation by African-American voters. It was no coincidence Mr. Sanders’s first stop post-New Hampshire was a breakfast in Harlem with the Rev. Al Sharpton. I’ll be attuned to what the candidates say about criminal justice reform, voting rights, women’s rights and whether they want to build on President Obama’s record — or scrap it for a sweeping “revolution.” Trip Gabriel

I expect Mr. Sanders to press aggressively on Mrs. Clinton’s paid speeches before big banks, as he has in the last few days. How she answers that question could be one of the most important moments of the evening. Mrs. Clinton, in her concession speech in New Hampshire, previewed her case going forward, speaking about her history of fighting for people who need it. Despite all the complaining from both sides, the Democratic primary has been fairly sleepy so far. That could change Thursday night.Maggie Haberman

I’ll be watching to see how much Mrs. Clinton’s Wall Street ties factor into the debate. Last week, the Sanders campaign distributed a news release calling attention to her vote in favor of bankruptcy legislation that was sought by the banking industry, suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was influenced by campaign contributions. Mrs. Clinton responded by urging Mr. Sanders to challenge her directly if he believed that allegation, rather than making insinuations. Will Mr. Sanders oblige? Thomas Kaplan

I will be interested to see how aggressive Mrs. Clinton is in critiquing and challenging Mr. Sanders. The most interesting television, perhaps, would be if Mrs. Clinton were to directly challenge him on his understanding of foreign policy. Her campaign clearly sees it as a weakness of his. Carolyn Ryan

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.58.02 AMI’ll be watching to see if Mr. Sanders complains publicly about having to run against both Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as Barack Obama did in 2008 after Mr. Clinton went on the offensive in the primary. Alan Rappeport

Hillary Clinton’s campaign just started airing a powerful ad in South Carolina highlighting her record of fighting for criminal justice reform and decrying “systemic racism.” I’ll be watching to see if — and how — Mrs. Clinton brings up race and gender issues as she seeks to restore a solid base after losing big to Mr. Sanders in New Hampshire. Nick Corasaniti

Mr. Sanders said in his New Hampshire victory speech that the Clinton campaign had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at him, and “I have the feeling that kitchen sink is coming pretty soon as well.” It will be interesting to see if Mrs. Clinton continues to criticize Mr. Sanders’s record on the debate stage in order to force media scrutiny of it. And I’m curious whether Mr. Sanders will retreat to his message — railing against what he calls a “rigged” economy, or if he engages Mrs. Clinton on the merits. — Jason Horowitz