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By Howard Schneider and Ann Saphir WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve's carefully scripted decision to raise interest rates last December, and begin a return to "normal" policy, may now become a nightmare for the U.S. central bank if an economic downturn forces a return to unconventional methods. Fed chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers this week she was studying ways to "be prepared" in the event the current slide in world stock markets, concern about financial sector stress, and slowing economic growth all translate into a recession or another financial crisis.
By John Whitesides MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed sharply in a debate on Thursday over their support for President Barack Obama, with Sanders accusing Clinton of "a low blow" after she compared him to Republicans. As the Democratic race moves to states with large minority populations, both candidates openly courted black and Hispanic votes during a debate that was far more restrained and cordial than last week's contentious debate in New Hampshire. In the sharpest exchange of the night, Clinton attacked Sanders for being too critical of Obama, who is extremely popular with the black voters who will play a big role in the outcome in South Carolina and other upcoming nominating contests.