Matthew Dowd and LZ Granderson Discuss the Democratic Debate

Matthew Dowd and LZ Granderson talk about the issues and the candidates.

ByABC News
October 13, 2015, 9:40 PM

October 13, 2015 — -- There may not be 15 candidates, but tonight’s debate, the first for Democrats, is no less crucial for the participants. Will little known candidates Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee increase their stature after performing in front of a national audience? Will Joe Biden be the elephant in the room? ABC News contributors Matt Dowd and LZ Granderson share their views about the debate.

The GOP debates resulted in huge gains for some candidates, particularly Carly Fiorina. What do the candidates have to do to prove themselves in this debate?

Matthew Dowd: It’s how do you fix a liability you have? Hillary Clinton has to fix authenticity. Bernie Sanders has to fix ethnicity; he’s getting no votes among blacks and Latinos. And the rest of the field has to fix publicity. No one is hearing from Martin O’Malley, Senator Webb, Lincoln…LZ Granderson: Lincoln Chafee. When I look at the other three, particularly Martin, he should be getting more attention. He’s accomplished in the media area, an area close to DC, he got a lot of attention when he was in office. I don’t know why it’s not translating. MD: I know why it’s like going to a Mexican restaurant and ordering oatmeal. There’s no salsa, there’s no spices. LZ: I disagree. He’s at least meat and potatoes.

Joe Biden. No one knows if the vice president will actually run. CNN reserved a podium for him just in case. Will he declare his candidacy?

LZ: I’m still holding onto no. He’s enjoying the attention and the adoration but he’s asking himself, 1) do I want to do that for a fourth time, but also 2) is the country tired of Obama? Because if they’re tired of Obama they’re going to be tired of me because there’s no way I can separate myself. MD: I leaned in the direction I thought he would run. If he decided he wasn’t running he would have said something. It would only be fair to those candidates to take himself off the table. I wouldn’t be surprised if by early next week, maybe Sunday, he decides to get in. I think a lot of it depends on tonight. LZ: Joe is definitely more likable than all of them and if there is a reason why he’s thinking about it it's because he knows he has that in his pocket. Even if he decides the country is tired of the Obama administration, but they still have Joe, he might decide to jump in.

Unlike Biden, likability issues – and her email server - seem to be plaguing front-runner Hillary Clinton:

MD: That’s her (Hillary’s) audience tonight, it's voters who don’t trust her, don’t think she’s authentic, don't think she’s genuine and don’t think she’s likable. She has this air about her that makes it seem she’s above it all and that’s not very appealing. LZ: It’s the last thing that really is the most difficult to overcome. The question isn’t about who’s lying to you. It’s whose lies you can deal with. And you pick a person whose lies you can deal with because you like them.Bill Clinton, at the end of the day he got away with it because we liked him. We liked Bush, we liked Reagan. MD: I think the email is a whole different story. Why she has a private server has still not been answered. She basically had it because she didn’t want to turn over emails. The other thing is it took her way too long to explain what's going on.LZ: Way too long. And way too long to say “my bad.”MD: It's like your kids. When they say my bad two weeks too late.