There’s no “Junior Varsity” debate tonight as the Democratic candidates for President take the stage for their first big discussion of the 2016 election season.
You know what that means: It’s time to fire up the Colorado Pols Debate Diary once again.
*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.
Juan Carlos Lopez makes his first appearance of the evening, asking Sanders about conflicting votes on immigration reform. The question is a bit too specific to understand clearly.
Sanders talks for awhile, then Lopez asks Clinton about making Obamacare available to immigrant families. Apparently O’Malley has a different policy stance on this issue, which the moderators seem to think is obvious to everyone else.
“I am for a generous, compassionate America that says we are all in this together.”
Webb is asked about whether immigrants should have access to Obamacare. He says some stuff for about 30 seconds.
Clinton jumps in and points out that Democrats on stage are talking very differently about immigrants compared to Republicans. Great, great point to make — and it saves us from listening to Webb drone on and on.
Dana Bash asks a question about whether taxpayers should pick up the tab for rich families to send their kids to college. This is a weird way to ask a question about making college more affordable.
Dana Bash kind of looks like Jar-Jar Binks, BTW.
Clinton talks about college affordability for a bit before Bash interrupts and tries to insist that she answer the second part of the original question, which nobody remembers anyway.
Sanders starts talking about “chained CPI” and other specific economic policies. Snore.
O’Malley takes the first real shot at another candidate when he says that Hillary is not a true supporter of Glass-Steagall.
Then Hillary says this: “I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.”
Sanders says it was wrong to ask the middle class to bail out Wall Street.
Whatever momentum had been generated by this discussion dies immediately when Webb starts talking. Since this debate is taking place in Las Vegas, you could call Webb “The Cooler.”
Now back to Chafee, who takes the boring baton from Webb and runs with it.
O’Malley brings up Glass-Steagall, and Cooper takes a moment to explain to the audience what we’re talking about here.
Sanders has another good line: “Fraud is a business model.” Then he talks in the third person. Awesome.
Clinton talks about her record going after big banks. She says bank executives should be in jail.
Sanders: “Congress does not regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress.”
Don Lemon now gets the stage, and there are technical difficulties in introducing a question from Facebook about whether or not “black lives matter.” This is obviously an important topic, but the question is awkward.
O’Malley has a good answer about how the response would be different if we were burying young white men at the same rates.
Clinton says that this may be the only bipartisan issue in the country right now — that we cannot keep putting people in prison at such a high rate. Clinton says “we need a new New Deal for people of color.”
Jim Webb starts talking, then wanders off into the woods. It would be difficult to be more boring than Webb at this point.
Sanders jumps in and talks about economic policies and raising wages.
Cooper lobs a horseshit question at Clinton about supporting the middle class when she is a part of the 1% economically. Cooper should be ashamed of himself for this question — every single candidate for President, on both sides of the aisle, is comfortably wealthy.
First question after the break is for Clinton, about her emails and her upcoming testimony in Congress. Hillary deals with the question well, sounding contrite and apologetic but also a bit fiesty when she says that the Congressional Committee she will testify in front of is little more than an arm of the Republican National Committee. You can thank Congressman Kevin McCarthy for providing the exit for Clinton here.
Sanders: “Let me say something that may not be great politics. The Secretary is right — people are tired of hearing about your damn emails!” Great, great line from Sanders, and he delivered it perfectly. “Enough of the emails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America!” The crowd erupts as Clinton and Sanders shake hands.
Cooper tries to get Chafee to attack Clinton over her emails, but Chafee won’t do much more than talk about “credibility” in general terms.
And then the biggest moment of the night thus far: Cooper asks Clinton if she would like to respond, and she says simply, “No.” The crowd erupts.
The first Democratic debate has thus far proven to be far less interesting to watch than the initial Republican debates, but there’s an interesting dynamic at play tonight; Democrats are considerably more poised and professional than the GOP candidates have shown.