3rd Democratic debate 2019: Which candidates stood out

A roundtable that includes former Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel, Yvette Simpson and others provide analysis of the 10 candidates' big moments and setbacks.
8:25 | 09/13/19

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Transcript for 3rd Democratic debate 2019: Which candidates stood out
Joining me now in the spin room, ABC news contributors Rahm Emanuel, Yvette Simpson, Heidi Heitkamp and Matt dowd. Well tomorrow to your first "Nightline." Glad to have you here. Our first question is for Rahm. And everyone else pick up on it. Who won and who lost? The democratic party won. This debate was better for the party advancing its cause. Senator, vice esident bide P came in and showed energy. I don't like what is condered two-tier candidates, I don't like that term. I thought Castro was way too harsh. The point got overshadowed by the harshness. That's going to be the take away and work unfortunately against some of the other candidates like senator booker and senator Harris who had moments. Your reaction? Winner or loser? I think the democratic party won again, and actually, the American people won. Right? They got the chance to see these candidates the way we wanted to see them, right? They got front and center stage, they got to talk about the issues, not only their plans but how it affects them personally. They got to hear some bold ideas, debate on ideas, intricacies on ideas. This is a great opportunity without a wholeot of distraction to see who is going to be the person who is going to lead this party and this country forward. I think clearly everyone did well. I think Biden by surviving, looking energetic till the end, you know, avoiding kind of a major mistake. I think Biden did himself real good tonight. He, you know, if you thought he was ill-prepared for the job before, you're probably there right now. But I think for people who have been concerned, can he stand on the stage for three hours and actually have a debate, I think that question was answered. Is that enough at this point to walk off the stage standing up. Yeah, that's the fascinating thing about the debate. Some thought it would constrain the field and force the dynamics in a certain direction. Because it was so ref la Tory, this race is more unformed after tonight than it was formed going into tonight. One other thing I think we have to put into context, not just that we had just only ten candidates and a number of candidates, you know the president is dropping, which means more voters are starting to look. And so in the context of people are unanchored or untethered, rather is a better way to say T all of a sudden you get presentation. More of them are going to cue in, look, listen. There are a number of people who started to look presidential, can go Manu a Manu. And in a moment when the president is dropping, more voters are to be had and that for the party was a better prospect. And there are subjects we didn't touch. Rahm mentioned Castro and that moment where he questioned the vice president and his memory. Did he go too far? That seems to be the uncomfortable moment. I think it depends on your perspective. Younger voters, I don't think they're going to see it as an offensive moment. I think they're going to see it as a debate. There are probably some old school folks who like the nicy nice who were probably startled by it. But I think there was a lot of energy going across the entire day and highlighting that moment was a little unfair. Democratic candidates make a mistake if they think they have to become their version of Donald Trump. If the voters want a bully, they got a bully, they've got the biggest, baddest bully in the white house who's a Republican. They want somebody who's not Donald Trump, and not Donald Trump is somebody civilized, calm, respectful, doesn't engage in a personal battle. Is it fair to compare him to Donald Trump? I don't think he was that far. You can't be a bully against Donald Trump and win. Here's the thing. We were talking much earlier about authenticity. Secretary Castro is a nice guy. He came across as mean. This is going to work against his candidacy. It's not true to the core of the person and it's going to go to the benefit of Joe Biden. Being in the room, what seemed like one of the emotional markers of the night was the conversation about gun control and Beto O'rourke's remarks and the things he said. Do you think that will work in a state like Texas? Can Democrats win with the gun control argument where he talked about taking away everyone's ak-47? ? I think it's a slippery when you start talking about legislation and mandatory buybacks, that, to people, seems to go a little bit too far. The thing about gun owners, they're willing to have the discussion if they think it will make a difference in terms of what happens with gun violence in this country. But I honestly believe the last year has changed the dynamic from where it was even two years so I think the president clearly believes that he has to do something on this. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with, and that will draw the contrast. Your facial expressions during that speaks. Can we challenge you to poker? Between the Progressive and moderate wings of the democratic party. Who's winning that right now? Here's the reason that somebody who was assigned by president Clinton. They are taking positions on gun control on the wrong side. They are taking environmental protections on the wrong side. This is a case in point if we're going to win states that are really in play, issues that work in a metropolitan perspective and just urban, funding of education equitably. You're stare ago hole in his head. Listen, the energy in the future and the president with this party is with millennials, black and brown voters. Black women have saved this party for a long time and will continue to do that. That energy is in the Progressive nature. What we're talking about now is bold leadership. If we haven't learned anything from trump is that you need to deliver to your base. And the base of this party are people who have been waiting on the world to change, and they're tired of waiting. I'm a gun-owning Texan, right? And the majority of gun-owning Texans today want universal background checks, a ban on Heidi's right. If you go too far and confiscation of guns and whatever, that's a problem. But the issue that Democrats used to run away from ten years ago or 15 years ago on guns is now popular among the majority of gun owners. This is the point that -- Why hasn't Donald Trump put a position out? He knows between his base and the voters he needs, he's in trouble. Senator klobuchar had a key point on domestic violence and expanding gun control, 10% of all crimes are committed by domestic violence. What's really interesting is if you look in the of most of the people who have committed mass gun violence, they have a domestic assault in their background. So that would disqualify them automatically under a background check. We have time for two more questions. Is there anyone who's going to get a phone call from a check writer tomorrow saying it's time to drop out? I thought going in -- I want the $1,000. We all do, Rahm. Who doesn't? Who doesn't want $1,000? No reason for anybody to drop Although, if in the next week, after this debate, they can't cash flow their campaign, they're going to have to think seriously, and that's been a I always tell people, this is the biggest fund raising opportunity. Everybody on that stage had. Let's see what happens in the next ten days. ? That will be the last word, thank you all so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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