It’s a mad dash to the first vote with Iowa just two weeks away. Potentially leading in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders was not afraid to attack Clinton about her credibility with Wall Street. But while his performance was strong, it was not enough to dislodge Clinton from her frontrunner status. Sanders’ strongest answers were on corruption on Wall Street and the need for campaign finance reform but he seemed to struggle when asked about his new healthcare plan’s taxes. He held his own when the conversation turned to foreign policy, but unfortunately Sanders’ knowledge and grasp is not as extensive as Clinton’s and he still needs to work to convince voters that he would make a strong commander in chief.
With a tightening race and Sanders emerging as a credible threat, Clinton’s new debate strategy was two-fold – hitting Sanders hard for his voting record, particularly on gun control, and aligning herself with Obama at every opportunity to defend his legacy, and thus implicitly questioning Sanders’ loyalty to the president. It is clear that Hillary is betting on Obama’s supporters flocking to her campaign, and in South Carolina she made sure she touched on issues that are important to those voters. She put on a solid performance once again however she did nothing substantial to halt Sanders’ momentum and it is likely that he will win New Hampshire and possibly Iowa as well, building on that momentum going into Super Tuesday.
O’Malley was largely ignored by the moderators and had to resort to pleading to get in an extra thirty seconds by the end. He did manage to make some good points through the night but it’s unlikely to have an effect on his support and he may not have enough money to last beyond Iowa.
There was one party notably absent from the debate – the Republicans. Usually the Democratic candidates can’t wait to criticize Republican rhetoric and compare themselves favorably. But with no other debates scheduled until after Iowa and New Hampshire, this was the last chance for the candidates to make an impact before the big show begins. Let’s hope people were paying attention.
What’s a mad dash to the finish line without fast cars and hot women? Movie for your mood: The Fast and the Furious