Even though my political brain is caught up with my own campaign, I will always have time to watch the debates and give my commentary. Some observations and then my ranking of the six candidates on the stage tonight.
I thought the format didn’t do enough to let the candidates actually debate. The candidates were cut off too quickly, especially by the moderator from Iowa.
The choice of topics were OK. I was fine with a return to the healthcare debate, since the number of candidates was only six and they haven’t addressed it much in the last couple of debates.
Tom Steyer seemed to be aligning himself with the progressives against the moderates, so that it was a 3 on 3 kind of thing.
I didn’t really not a lot of “good” answers, as I’ve done in the previous debates. I had Warren with two, Pete with two, Klobuchar with one and Sanders with one. I also noted throughout how Biden had a lot of rambling answers.
I thought Warren had the strongest closing, followed by Pete and Biden right behind her.
On to the ranking…
- Warren – Since Elizabeth has been top of my candidate ranking for a while, I have gone out of my way not to seem biased with my debate ranking for her. But she had some good moments and was the most consistent in her answers throughout the debate. Also, the immediate reactions from the CNN post debate commentary seemed to agree with me that it was Warren’s night.
- Buttigieg – Mayor Pete was pretty solid, but missed some opportunities to really shine. He had some good applause moments (bone spurs) and a good closing.
- Sanders – Bernie was Bernie. He kept turning back to his issues and he does that well. He lost the mini-battle with Warren on women candidates and it felt like he was a little on the defensive in that area. He also got a front-runner like attack on paying for his Medicare For All program, similar to how Warren got it in the Fall.
- Biden – Biden had a good closing, which saved an otherwise mediocre night. He falls into rambling when he gets a question he isn’t totally prepared for.
- Steyer – I liked that he’s trying to align with the Progressives. He also made some good points on climate change.
- Klobuchar – I like Amy. But she’s just trying too hard to be pragmatic. She swung and missed on all of her opportunities. I may still have her more highly ranked in my overall ranking, but she wasn’t great tonight. And that’s bad, since she really needs to overachieve in Iowa to have any chance to move on.