The Democratic candidates have completed their first debate of 2016. There may have been more moments of unity than contention, such as when Bernie Sanders said "enough" about talk of Hillary Clinton's emails, but who won and who lost? Will anyone get a polling boost? ABC News contributors Matthew Dowd and LZ Granderson gave their take on "Strait Talk."
Winners: Bernie, Hillary (sort of). Joe Biden. Losers: Everyone else. LZ: I think the real winner was Bernie. Hillary Clinton solidified her spot as the favorite. If he didn’t look so drastically weak on foreign policy I might have given him the nudge within 10 points of her. MD: The biggest winner for me tonight was the guy who wasn't there -- Joe Biden. If you're with his advisers and other big Democrats this only encourages you to get in the race. If you liked Hillary you came away liking her, if you liked Bernie you came away loving him. I don’t know about the other three.
That e-mail moment..(not Hillary’s; Bernie’s). MD: One key moment was the question aimed at Hillary about her emails, but Bernie Sanders gave the best response and it was one of the strongest moments of the debate for him. MD: The handshake. LZ: I would prefer fist-bump. LZ: He prefaced it by saying, “This won’t be politically savvy.” MD: But it WAS politically savvy! LZ: It was. It made him look like a bigger person.
Hillary Clinton’s moments: the best and the worst. The best: reminding voters of her life before politics: “I remember as a young mother…” LZ: We forgot she actually had a life before she was in office with Bill. That was an opportunity for her to remind us in a casual narrative, I was a working mom back when working moms were frowned upon, and didn’t have any provisions whatsoever. I know what I'm talking about in this area, and in a very personal way. MD: I agree, but it came as voters were tuning into the Mets/Dodgers game.
The worst: Keystone pipeline: "I didn’t take a position on it before I took a position on it.” LZ: Girl what does that mean? MD: It means she got debate advice from John Kerry. It was a complete picture of the caricature he would become which is flip-flopping. That’s going to end up in ads everywhere. LZ: It should end up everywhere because it was a huge gaffe. It took away from what was a great moment not much before that MD: One of her biggest liabilities was authenticity, being genuine, and can we trust her? That still needs to be fixed. That moment only made it that much worse.
While the first Democratic debate may be over, Biden's decision-making process is not. He still has time to announce a presidential run and meet filing deadlines and if a Biden announcement is imminent (as many predict), the make-up of the Democratic debate next month could be very different.