The Note: Another Look At The Democratic Debate

— -- NOTABLES

--5 WAYS THE DEBATE DID (AND DIDN’T) CHANGE THE RACE: With the clock ticking on the crucial first-in-the-nation state contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Democratic presidential candidates took the stage for their third debate during a critical moment in the race for the White House. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the current national frontrunner, faced off against Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Gov. Martin O’Malley in the debate, hosted by ABC News, over national security, domestic policy and the big story of last week -- Sanders' campaign staff accessing Clinton's voter data after a software breach. ABC’s RYAN STRUYK breaks down the five ways this debate did (and didn't) change the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. http://abcn.ws/1J0YcjK

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: The differences in the Democratic race have seldom been more explicit, even if it doesn’t make it any more likely that Hillary Clinton is defeated in the race for the nomination. Bernie Sanders made clear his differences, on economic and foreign policy; Martin O’Malley’s generational leadership argument has seldom been made more forcefully than on Saturday, his better-polling opponents by his side. Yet Clinton parried attacks with expertise, in a nimble ABC News debate performance where she ranged from grace – accepting an early apology from Sanders, on the data breach – to an attack mode that had going after even O’Malley at one point. Clinton was able to use the high-risk platform of a primary debate to make a turn toward the general election – something, notably, none of the Republican candidates have truly been able to do, given the dynamics in that race. Asked by David Muir whether corporate America should love Hillary Clinton, her response drew a grin, not a grimace: “Everybody should,” she said.

--IN CASE YOU MISSED IT -- THE DEBATE IN A MINUTE. ABC’s ALI DUKAKIS and TOM THORNTON look at some of the highlights of this weekend’s debate, hosted by ABC News: http://abcn.ws/1Pi4xIW

--THE DEBATE BY THE NUMBERS. Courtesy of ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ. http://abcn.ws/1O11WC

 

THE BUZZ

with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI

DONALD TRUMP ALLEGES HILLARY CLINTON MADE UP ISIS VIDEO CLAIM. Hillary Clinton made up her claim that ISIS uses videos of him to recruit new members, said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. "Knowing the Clintons and knowing Hillary, she made it up," Trump said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." During Saturday's Democratic debate, Clinton said ISIS is "going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” Trump said many fact checkers have "vetted" the claim of Trump being used in ISIS videos and have proven it to be false, ABC’s JOHN SANTUCCI notes.  Government sources and intelligence experts tell ABC News there is no evidence to support Clinton's claim that ISIS recruiters are "going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam." http://abcn.ws/1TXC0Yo

NOTED: TRUMP SAYS HE’LL GET ALONG FINE WITH RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN. After receiving praise from Vladimir Putin earlier this week, Donald Trump said he thinks he’ll “get along fine” with the Russian president if elected. "If Putin respects me, and if Putin wants to call me brilliant...I'll accept that, and I'll accept it on behalf of our country,” he said. Trump criticized President Obama’s relationship with Putin, saying the Russian president “can’t stand our president, and it’s causing us difficulty." He added Russia could be a strong ally for the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, ABC’s NICKI ROSSOLL reports. http://abcn.ws/1JlEDxB

CLINTON CAMPAIGN DOUBLES DOWN ON ISIS VIDEOS. Hillary Clinton’s communications director defended her candidate’s claim that ISIS is using videos of Donald Trump to recruit members, but could not point to specific evidence of this happening in an interview on "This Week” yesterday. Jen Palmieri said Clinton wasn't referring to a specific video during Saturday's debate when she said Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric is making him "ISIS's best recruiter" and that “they are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” Clinton offered no specific evidence of the claim, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ reports. "She’s not referring to a specific video, but he is being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda,” said Palmieri. http://abcn.ws/1meiwUr

CHRIS CHRISTIE: CLINTON IS ‘MRS. HAPPY TALK’ ON ISIS. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused Hillary Clinton of trying to “happy talk her way to the presidency” for her suggestion in Saturday night’s debate that the U.S. is finally where we need to be in the fight against ISIS. “With dead bodies in Paris, dead bodies in San Bernardino and no plan from this administration to deal with it, we’re finally where we need to be?” Christie rhetorically asked ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “This Week” Sunday morning. “Mrs. Clinton is 'Mrs. Happy Talk' and she just wants to happy talk her way to the presidency," he added. "She is a personification of this administration: Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?” According to ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS, Christie has argued the United States is already in the midst of a World War III situation with the ongoing struggle against ISIS and so-called lone wolf terrorists, a situation he blames on the Obama administration and Clinton’s role in shaping its foreign policy. http://abcn.ws/1Yu2PEU

BERNIE SANDERS CALLS DONALD TRUMP A ‘PATHOLOGICAL LIAR.’ Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called Donald Trump a "pathological liar" Sunday on ABC's "This Week," saying "much of what he says are lies or gross distortions of reality." "I say this straight-forwardly, I think you have a pathological liar there," he said. Sanders disputed Trump’s claim there were Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after the September 11th attacks, ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS notes. He argued there has been no video evidence. "Either it is true or it is not true," Sanders said. "Nobody has seen a tape of thousands of people celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers in New Jersey. It doesn't exist, and [Trump] keeps claiming it. That's called pathological lying." http://abcn.ws/22i8eDL

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

THE DEBATE’S BEST ZINGERS. There may only have been three candidates, but there was no shortage of unforgettable exchanges during Saturday night's debate. ABC’s JENNIFER HANSLER highlight some of the most memorable moments from the showdown in New Hampshire. http://abcn.ws/1J0IHsn

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@aebrandenburger: New Jeb Video - “The Only One" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg3_OG-pA3Y …

@AnnieLinskey: The reason @HillaryClinton was late getting back to the #debdebate: A line at the ladies' room. http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/12/20/bizarre-part-democratic-debate-explained/GyvaBZbnFoghvspiCHoosK/story.html …

@gov: Top Tweeted moment of the #DemDebate: @HillaryClinton signs-off with "May the force be with you" #StarWars

@tripgabriel: GOP joke that @marcorubio is running for 'mayor of Ankeny,' where his Iowa HQ is and where he closely sticks. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/strategic-or-overconfident-rubio-plays-hard-to-get-with-voters/2015/12/20/60b8a3e8-a5a0-11e5-9c4e-be37f66848bb_story.html …

@llerer: Analysis: Sanders struggles to gain edge in presidential bid (from @AP) http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:cedf76911c254d5d8654f6c400455461 …