The First Democratic Debate: Who Delivered and Who Folded

Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The first Democratic debate has opened the window to many voters on which issues Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb stand on. It started with Cooper’s invitation for Joe Biden to join the race before each of the candidates had the opportunity to give their opening statements.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came off as prepared and confident. To many in the media and those polled, she is considered the winner of the debate.

To a lot of people, it’s pretty unclear whether Sanders helped or hurt himself. One of the moments during the debate, which he recognized may not have been good politics, was when he exclaimed to front runner Hillary Clinton that, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”

Martin O’Malley performed fairly well, but never had a moment where he truly shined. His intentions were to present himself as a more progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton. Many believe that he could have done better in grabbing the attention of the American people.

Jim Webb came across as grumpy when he complained about his speaking time. His performance was below average. When debate moderator Anderson Cooper pressed Webb on his A+ rating from the NRA, he didn’t have much of a comeback. After the debate, Webb made it clear to the media that he was disappointed in the air time he received compared to Clinton and Sanders. “I even turned around to Bernie Sanders at one point and said, ‘Bernie! Say my name, will you? Just say my name!’” Webb stated.

Lincoln Chafee stumbled in the debate as well. When he was asked about his vote to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, his defense was, “I had just arrived in the Senate”. Following this response, Cooper further pressed him on the fact that he “didn’t know what he was voting for”. Chafee then suggested Cooper was being a little harsh due to his situation at the time of just arriving in the Senate and losing a loved one.

Both Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee have dropped out of the democratic race for President of the United States. Webb, following his departure from the race, has argued that the debate was “rigged” in favor of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders whereas Chafee’s reasoning for departing differed. Chafee believes that after Clinton’s strong performance in the debate and hearings, along with Biden’s decision not to run (due to the fact that he believes he has run out of time to run an effective campaign) he has concluded that Hillary Clinton’s emails no longer disqualify her from the race, and has thrown his full support behind her. Webb, on the other hand, is apparently considering a third party run.

Saturday Night Live got the opportunity to poke fun at the debate as well. With a very laid back Hillary Clinton, an extra passionate but accurate Bernie Sanders, who talked about his one pair of underwear and later got embraced by Clinton (which actually happened when she embraced him in the real debate for defending her email controversy), a funny but casual O’Malley, an extra goofy Chafee, and an extra grumpy Webb impersonator, the mock debate was definitely far more entertaining than the debate itself.