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Apr 15 2016
#DemDebate: No Game-Changers Comments (0)

The CNN Democratic Debate on Thursday night was filled with stark questions, but I didn't see or hear anything that would markedly change the trajectory of the race. I can't imagine any Hillary boosters coming away disenchanted, nor can I imagine any Bernie boosters coming away disenchanted.

Both candidates held their own, both were very sharp without crossing over into what I would consider brutal. I felt all the questions and all of the candidates' jibes were perfectly appropriate.

I think Bernie did himself no favors by doubling down on questioning Hillary's judgment, and I agree with many who found his Sandy Hook answer to be disastrous. To me, he comes off as crankier and more self-righteous with each debate, and more troubling to more experienced voters, I think Hillary's line about him diagnosing the problems without having realistic solutions really felt accurate this time; his idealism didn't really wash that away.

Bernie was strongest when bluntly calling the phrase super predators racist, but that's an old issue that hasn't dented Clinton.

Clinton—either more imperious or more presidential, depending on how you feel about her—usually sounds political, to a fault. Bernie usually sounds like an activist (not a president) to a fault. Tonight, I think she weathered his attacks beautifully and I found her closing speech to have a genuinely inspiring, broad sweep, yet ended with an effective attack on Sanders.

She was worst when asked to say YES or NO and refusing to do so. For me, that is what politics is—you have plenty of YES or NO beliefs, but some issues require more nuance, and it's not only about selfish political expediency.

I'd say Hillary won, and that even if it was a draw, that's a win when she is ahead of him in New York—which votes Tuesday—in every single poll.