10:57. That was so weird. The candidates remained on stage while Major Garrett reported on audience reaction to several key moments. O’Malley was giving a thumb’s-up to the crowd when Garrett said his slam at Trump got a big response.
10:56. And so it ends. Clinton began her campaign revival with the first debate. I suspect tonight will be seen as a minor setback. She wasn’t bad, but she was hardly dominant. Sanders was as good on the details as she was, and came across as more principled — and, needless to say, more passionate.
O’Malley isn’t terrible, but by comparison he comes across as less experienced and kind of wooden.
10:50. It finally occurred to me what O’Malley reminds me of: an official response to a State of the Union address. That’s not a compliment.
10:46. “We’ve been working you hard. Please take the next few minutes to puff yourself up in any way you like.”
10:40. I realize I said nothing about the candidates’ answers to the Black Lives Matter question. Frankly, the answers struck me as boilerplate, so I didn’t see any need to comment. But yes, I wish they had transcended boilerplate.
10:38. I’d like to see someone talk about the responsibility of private colleges and universities to hold down tuition and fees. That’s a huge part of the equation.
10:28. Sanders says again that he’s sick of hearing about Clinton’s emails, and he blames the media for reports that he’s changed his mind.
10:25. I’m going to be writing this up for WGBHNews.org as soon as the debate is over, so I won’t be able to incorporate any of the pundits’ reactions. But though Clinton has come across as knowledgeable and competent, she’s also been humorless and charmless compared to the last debate. You could say the same of Sanders, of course, but he’s playing a different game. Bernie acolytes won’t want to hear this, but I still think his main interest is in pushing Clinton to the left and influencing the party platform.
I’m also seeing indications on Twitter that the main takeaway for Clinton’s conservative critics is that she wouldn’t agree with moderator John Dickerson that “radical Islam” is our enemy. She was more comfortable talking about “jihadists,” “Islamists” and “extremism,” arguing that invoking “Islam” is too easily misinterpreted as anti-Muslim. Frankly, I’m surprised that Clinton wasn’t better at thinking on her feet. She had to know that she was handing an issue to the right.
10:16. Good to see a Twitter commenter calling out Clinton for wrapping herself in the 9/11 flag when she was challenged on her close relationship with Wall Street.
10:09. We’re now getting the Full Bernie as Sanders goes off on Clinton for her support from Wall Street. It must have stung, because Clinton responds by playing both the gender and the 9/11 cards. As pre-rehearsed as it was, I don’t think it was a good move — it was so transparent.
O’Malley, when finally given a chance to talk, calls Clinton’s Wall Street reform proposal “weak tea” and agrees with Sanders that we need to restore Glass-Steagall financial regulation.
Sanders either just said “The business of Wall Street is fraud” or “flawed.” I’m not sure which, and there’s a huge difference, needless to say.
10:00. It’s refreshing to hear presidential candidates arguing over how high the minimum wage should be rather than how low. As Sanders and O’Malley point out, it’s basic economics that everyone benefits when lower-income workers have more money to spend on goods and services. Sanders and O’Malley want $15 an hour. Clinton takes a nuanced, complicated position — $12 nationwide, but local officials could choose to go higher. But that’s already the case, so it seems like she’s being too cute.
9:50. O’Malley gets some applause for referring to “that immigrant-bashing carnival barker Donald Trump.”
9:45. Clinton wants to improve the Affordable Care Act. Sanders says he supports the ACA, but wants to keep pushing for universal coverage.
9:42. “I’m not as much of a socialist as Eisenhower,” says Sanders, noting that the marginal tax rate was 90 percent under Ike.
9:37. We’re moving on to the financial challenges faced by the middle class. Seems somehow inappropriate, but on with the show.
9:35. Poor O’Malley! The union-sponsored anti-Walmart commercial that just ran mentioned “Hillary, Bernie” and even the Republicans. But not O’Malley.
9:34. Clinton is as good as she was in the previous debate, but Sanders is much better. Interesting that all of them are still willing to take Syrian refugees with the proper screening. Again, the contrast with the Republicans is striking.
9:30. I don’t know why Sanders didn’t want to talk about national security tonight. He’s very good at this — as detailed as Clinton, and with more of an overarching philosophy. He makes a great point about the U.S. military, which has 5,000 nuclear weapons but devotes only 10 percent of its resources to fighting terrorism. “The Cold War is over,” he says.
9:29. It’s interesting to hear all three candidates take care to distinguish between violent jihadists and ordinary Muslims. Clinton even pays tribute to George W. Bush for visiting a mosque in the days after 9/11. Can you imagine what we’d be hearing tonight if the Republicans were debating?
9:23. Clinton and Sanders are having a serious discussion. O’Malley is a distraction.
9:17. Asked if he still believes climate change is our top threat, Sanders not only says “absolutely” but links it to the rise of ISIS. This is very smart. Numerous analysts have linked terrorism to environmental catastrophe, as desperate people fight over increasingly scarce resources. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has written about this quite a bit.
Sanders also rightly associates the rise of ISIS with the war in Iraq, which, of course, Clinton voted in favor of. “These regime changes have unintended consequences,” Sanders says. Clinton’s command of the details is impressive, but Sanders is holding his own and then some.
Martin O’Malley comes across as someone who’s feeling his way. Which he is.
9:09. In opening statements, Sanders quickly switches back to his “millionaires and billionaires” rhetoric. Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley stay on message in talking about Paris and national security.
9:01. The debate begins with a moment of silence — very brief but appropriate.
8:59. You may have heard that the Bernie Sanders campaign was upset at CBS News’ decision to refocus the debate on national security and foreign policy. Seems strange that someone who wants to be president can’t understand the need to switch gears after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Anyway, it will be interesting to see if any of it spills over into the debate itself.
I’ll be live-blogging the Democratic presidential debate starting at 9 p.m. Please check in — and don’t forget to hit refresh to see new content. As you may know, CBS News has refocused the agenda to concentrate on foreign policy and national security following the terrorist attacks in Paris. There should be a lot to talk about.