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Who won the debate

運営事務局 JIMOPLE 55 October 16, 2019

My major take-aways from tonight’s debate:

  1. Rehearsed Joe Biden doesn’t work, plain and simple. He was at his best in the few exchanges when he was unscripted and unfiltered. That energy and passion is precisely what people expect and love about Biden. Let Joe be Joe.
  2. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg brought the much-needed perspective and pragmatism of middle-America. They stood out tonight by engaging in vigorous policy debates -- and also by reminding us that you can disagree without being disagreeable.
  3. Bernie Sanders had a heart attack -- and got a heart. It’s often been said that he lacks a certain human touch. That vulnerable moment tonight when he thanked people for their well wishes and prayers was powerful. His defense of his positions and policy proposals was equally powerful. Anybody who thought he’d be weakened or diminished after the health scare -- anybody who thought he’d pass the progressive torch to Elizabeth Warren and go out to pasture -- was gravely mistaken. There’s still a lot of fight left in the guy.
  4. Elizabeth Warren learned what it’s like to come into a debate as the woman on top: It means everyone shoots their arrows at you. Until today, she was untested as a frontrunner. Tonight’s debate left her a little bruised, but it will ultimately make her a better candidate. Detailed plans are not enough -- people also want to know how you’re going to implement and pay for those plans.
  5. Democrats have shown again that there is great diversity of thought within their party. Whether it’s health care, gun reform, regulating big tech or so many other issues, it's clear that many ideas are welcome in the Democratic tent.
  6. If the presidency eludes her grasp, Tulsi Gabbard may want to explore a future career as a debate moderator. But tonight wasn’t the night to start auditioning.

Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist and CNN political commentator.

Bernie Sanders rebounded from his heart attack. Joe Biden maintained his steady, stable, strength. And Elizabeth Warren fended off a slew of attacks. But two candidates clocking in single-digit poll numbers stole the show. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg used wit, facts, and charm to supercharge their candidacies.

Klobuchar, especially, used the crucial first 30 minutes to command the stage. She took the fight squarely to President Donald Trump on his precipitous withdrawal from Syria, saying, “I would like to hear from him about how coddling up to Vladimir Putin makes America great again. It doesn’t make America great again. It makes Russia great again.”

Another single-digit candidate, Pete Buttigieg, ripped Elizabeth Warren on health care: "Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion-dollar hole in this Medicare for All plan that Senator Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”

Yes, before the debate, the top tier was Elizabeth, Joe, and Bernie. But after tonight’s debate, keep your eye on Amy and Pete. 

Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and served as a counselor to Clinton in the White House

I find it puzzling that Elizabeth Warren won’t just say she’s raising taxes to pay for Medicare for All. She gets asked this question frequently -- and always goes into dodge mode, never offering a simple "yes" or "no."

What’s amazing is that she will straightforwardly tell you she’s for things like free health care for undocumented immigrants and taxpayer-funded gender reassignment surgeries for prison inmates. These are massively unpopular things, and she’s willing to own them outright.

But when it comes to taxes, she dodges. And people notice. Mayor Pete Buttigieg rightly called her out for her evasiveness -- just as Donald Trump will in 2020.

Scott Jennings, a CNN contributor, is a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and a former campaign adviser to US Sen. Mitch McConnell. He is a partner at RunSwitch Public Relations in Louisville, Kentucky.

Here's where we stand: Former Vice President Joe Biden is struggling, Senator Elizabeth Warren is emerging as the frontrunner, and other candidates still see a path toward victory. And it's become clear that fellow Democrats will try to displace Warren by claiming that her ideas are unrealistic.

But the horse race is only part of the story. Some of the most interesting moments tonight came when Democrats turned to foreign policy. President Donald Trump has opened up another massive opportunity for every candidate in the party. The fiasco in Syria has given Democrats an easy way to claim a national security advantage over the GOP.

The President’s missteps have led to the Free Syrian Army releasing ISIS fighters while Russian and Syrian forces take hold of territory previously held by US allies.

Trump's withdrawal of US troops from Syria gives Democrats the opportunity to show voters how the President poses a serious risk to US national security. His decisions are not just impulsive or erratic; they are downright dangerous.

This will be one of the most important arguments for Democrats going into 2020 -- and a way to help voters understand the cost of allowing the Trump presidency to continue.

Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst, is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and author of the forthcoming book, "Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party." 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been surging in the polls and she's paying the price in the debate. She's become the relentless target of attacks tonight, and has already suffered lasting wounds from the onslaught.

Warren’s position may play well with Democratic activists, who usually dominate in primary elections. But this year is different, since Democratic voters want someone who can readily beat President Donald Trump. When more moderate candidates came out on the offensive, Warren's positions looked further left.

Warren refused to answer "yes or no" on repeated questions about whether her Medicare for All plan would raise taxes on the middle class. She dodged the question, saying it would “lower costs.” It fooled no one, and it was not a good look. Mayor Pete Buttigieg called her out, “You heard it tonight: a yes or no question that didn’t get a yes or no answer.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar hit again. “I appreciate Elizabeth’s work,” she said. "But again, the difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something that you can actually get done.”

The problem with Warren’s plan is not just that it would raise taxes or that it would be hard to implement, but that most Americans do not want it. Polls show two-thirds of Americans want a national health care plan, but less than one third want it to replace their private health insurance.

It has not been a good night for Warren, even if she was all but crowned the frontrunner given the attacks from other candidates.

Frida Ghitis, a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a frequent opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to the Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. Follow her on Twitter @fridaghitis. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. Read more opinion on CNN.

The biggest loser in tonight’s debate was President Donald Trump. Democrats trained their fire on him much more consistently than in earlier debates. Each and every Democrat hammered Trump on issues ranging from the disaster of withdrawing from Syria to the abuse of power in Ukraine. In addition, many of the candidates were measured and articulate in talking about how the impeachment process needs to be fair, serious and not political. 

What should be worrisome to Trump is the strength of the moderates in this debate. While the most progressive candidates seem to get the lion's share of media and Twitter attention, most Democrats reside in the center and center-left. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker all made strong showings tonight, with Joe Biden finding his groove when the debate turned to foreign policy.

There will be a mixed bag of winners and losers based on the pundits' marks. There will be no debate on this being a loss for Trump.

Joe Lockhart was White House press secretary from 1998-2000 in President Bill Clinton's administration. He co-hosts the podcast "Words Matter." 

Tonight we saw an extended dispute between Rep.Tulsi Gabbard and most of the other candidates onstage about Gabbard’s commitment to ending what she calls “regime-change wars.”

The exchange highlighted the fact that many Democrats have shaken off their hesitation about committing American troops to troubled spots around the world.

One lesson of  the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that Americans, including a majority of Democrats, don’t want to be involved in endless wars. That view, supported by various polls, suggests that candidates should be cautious about pledging themselves to military involvements.

But the recent Turkish incursion into Syria, launched with the tacit approval of President Trump, has convinced Democrats to pounce on the President. Tonight Joe Biden called him “an erratic, crazy president who doesn’t know a damn thing about foreign policy.”

By contrast, the Democratic candidates tonight competed to prove they are prepared to repair America’s tarnished image in the Middle East and elsewhere by committing military power without an expiration date. The candidates catalogued the problems caused by Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of US forces from Syria, from lowering the morale of American troops (“they’re ashamed,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg) to questions about whether US allies like Israel can trust America’s promises in future.

The popular notion that America can’t be the world’s policeman only sounds good until you see what happens when the policeman turns its back and goes off duty.

Errol Louis is the host of "Inside City Hall," a nightly political show on NY1, a New York all-news channel.

Bernie is back.

In advance of Tuesday's debate there was widespread speculation about how Senator Bernie Sanders, 78, would fare on his return to the national stage after suffering a heart attack. Would he display his trademark vigor? Would his performance be as passionate and feisty as before his health scare?  

The answer on both counts is yes.

Sanders came out strong from the start, unequivocally declaring President Donald Trump “the most corrupt president in the history of this country.” During an early discussion of Trump’s Ukraine scandal, Sanders offered the crucial reminder that Democrats cannot focus solely on the current president -- that they must also focus on problems like climate change and the plight of working-class Americans.

Sanders' persona appears undimmed, to the point where his presence and energy seemed to overshadow younger rivals like Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.

Sanders' signature blunt assessments are intact; tonight he called the US health care system "dysfunctional" and "cruel." Like him or not, Sanders cannot be written off yet.  

Tonight, we are reminded why Sanders is a unique phenomenon: He remains as bold and impassioned as ever. He has a powerful sense of righteous outrage and a clear vision for the future. 

In marked contrast to former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders comes across as hungry for the Democratic nomination -- and raring to continue his quest for the White House.  

Raul Reyes is an attorney and frequent contributor to CNN Opinion.

Joe Biden has been egregiously slandered by President Trump’s corruption conspiracy theories.

There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe Biden or his son Hunter Biden. Indeed, Joe Biden has insisted that there was nothing wrong with his son Hunter serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, which reportedly paid him as much as $50,000 a month, while Biden was vice president.

And here’s the conundrum:

Biden says there was nothing wrong with Hunter’s positions when he was VP.

But he assures us that the younger Biden will forswear such affiliations if Biden is elected president.

In other words:

Hunter didn’t do anything wrong but he won’t do it again.

Why not just acknowledge what his son did in the same way Hunter did in an ABC interview this morning by copping to “poor judgment” over the appearance of a conflict of interest?

Instead, Joe Biden continued to sidestep the issue tonight.

David Axelrod, a senior CNN political commentator and host of "The Axe Files," was senior adviser to President Barack Obama and chief strategist for the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns.