The first blush of commentary after the New Hampshire debates looks relatively conventional, even as small movements up and down in polling have occurred. MSM is far too obsessed with the media framing of socialism, despite a Chris Matthews rant about Fidel Castro.
Four days before the New Hampshire primary, the first contest from which we might get verifiable and swift results, former vice president Joe Biden and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) showed up for the debate struggling to show they are viable contenders while former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were eager to show they are in a tier unto themselves. (I have no idea why Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer are still in the race. Boredom? Attention seeking?) So how did they do?
Klobuchar had a sound-bite moment when she derided Buttigieg for playing the outsider card. Showing real passion, she declared, “We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us.” On health care, she played the truth-teller, saying to Sanders, “I keep listening to the same debate on Medicare-for-all, but it’s not real. Two-thirds of Senate Democrats aren’t on the bill.” She continued: “It would kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years,” adding, “I will build on the Affordable Care Act — not blow it up.”Again and again, Klobuchar went back to her message: She’s someone who can run and win in red states and govern by bringing both sides together. On opioids, she demonstrated a remarkable, granular understanding of the issue. Her answer on abortion was vigorous, directing her fire at Trump for promising to punish women and/or doctors. She was forceful on voting rights and voter suppression as well. She cleaned Steyer’s clock for his rejection of the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, turning it into a discourse on governing in the real world and knocking Trump for offending and alienating the entire world. (”He blames the King of Denmark; who does that?”)
Her closing was the most effective of the candidates', recounting a story of a man watching Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s funeral train. When asked if he knew Roosevelt, he responded, “No, but he knew me.” She talked about the importance of empathy in a president and stressed that she knows and will fight for the ordinary Americans who struggle.
Ã¢ÂÂ Bernie/Nina 2020 Ã°ÂÂÂ¹ (@mikemoran2010) February 8, 2020
Ã¢ÂÂ FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) February 8, 2020
That’s A Wrap
Sanders and Buttigieg both had quite a bit of speaking time, which makes sense given their performance in Iowa and their standing going into New Hampshire, but Biden also managed to steal the mic quite a bit, and actually spoke more than Buttigieg. Only Yang really struggled to get any airtime. That said, none of the exchanges were particularly pointed this evening, so it’s hard to know how this will change things as we head into the primary next Tuesday.
Sanders, who our model thinks has a 68 percent shot of winning the most votes in New Hampshire, had a strong evening, as did Buttigieg, who has a 1 in 4 shot. At this point, we’ll have to wait for some more polls to see how the picture changes, but in the meantime, scroll to relive this blog in all its chronological glory.
And we’ll also be back tomorrow with our post-debate poll with Ipsos that measures how the debate changed voters’ views of the race.