Who Won the Democratic Debate? Experts Weigh In

Twitter can’t tell us whether, or how, Tuesday’s debate might change voters’ minds. But it can give us the perspectives of some of the people with expertise on primary races: veteran campaign strategists, consultants and analysts.

“Best debate performance yet from @JoeBiden — he’s best when his back is against the wall.” — Jennifer Palmieri, former spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

“.@JoeBiden fighting for @BarackObama’s record is smart and working for him.” — Amanda Renteria, interim president of Emerge and former national political director for Hillary Clinton

“Strong answer from @JoeBiden on earning the African American vote in SC and throughout the country.” — Kurt Bardella, Democratic media strategist and former Republican congressional spokesman

“.@JoeBiden interrupting @amyklobuchar to take credit for writing a bill he did not write (closing the boyfriend loophole — access to guns for domestic abusers) is not a good look.” — Kelly Dittmar, scholar at Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics

“Bloomberg looks so agitated and uncomfortable when held accountable by Warren. His whole ‘enough is never enough for her’ line felt sexist and dismissive.” — Marc Lamont Hill, author and professor of media studies at Temple University

“Bloomberg actually in this debate. Not a natural but slugging away. Solid improvement.” — Mike Murphy, Republican strategist

“Bloomberg is trying to prove that his sexual harassment was nothing more than bad jokes by repeatedly telling bad jokes.” — Seth Masket, political scientist at the University of Denver

“Smart of Pete to keep hammering away on down-ballot races.” — Jesse Lehrich, former foreign policy spokesman for Hillary Clinton

“‘How can we deliver a revolution if you can’t support a rule change?’ Killer line from @PeteButtigieg to @BernieSanders.” — Frank Luntz, Republican consultant and pollster

“He has an uphill fight in S.C. and beyond but @PeteButtigieg is having a very good night.” — David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama

“So the youngest guy on the stage has the most thoughtful and comprehensive answer on the threats we face. Imagine that.” — Jen Psaki, former spokeswoman for Mr. Obama

“Klobuchar’s answer on coronavirus was very strong … and driving viewers to the CDC site really drove home the seriousness of the situation.” — Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service and former Democratic National Committee spokesman

“All the blah blah blah from candidates who have next to no Black support. @amyklobuchar keeps touring winning ‘the middle’ of the country and she means white voters like her Uncle Dick. She doesn’t mean Philly, Detroit, Milwaukee.” — Aimee Allison, founder of She the People

“Bernie has been doing this since 2015, and somehow his gun answer has never gotten better.” — Patrick Dillon, former senior adviser to Mr. Obama

“Say it, @BernieSanders our foreign policy must acknowledge and address the suffering of the Palestinian people. It’s a principled, moral stand and long overdue.” — Aimee Allison

“Bernie just got booed for the second time tonight. This is his worst #DemDebate so far — he’s not reading this audience. He’s not listening.” — Frank Luntz

“Tonight just underscores how big a missed opportunity last week was for all the candidates who ganged up on Bloomberg and left Bernie alone. Bernie is on the defensive and struggling to turn it around. And the audience reaction is catching him off guard.” — Mo Elleithee

“In the battle of the billionaires … Tom Steyer is so much better on the debate stage than Mike Bloomberg is.” — Mo Elleithee

“Thank you @TomSteyer for speaking up about #CyberSecurity and protecting the integrity of our elections.” — Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Committee chairwoman

“Warren is the only candidate who can fundamentally cut into Bernie’s base & she understands exactly how to do it.” — Jesse Lehrich

“Warren is so relentless. She won’t let up. This is a clinic.” — Zerlina Maxwell, senior director of progressive programming at SiriusXM

“So far Warren is the only candidate hasn’t lost their cool and stayed focused.” — Karen Finney, Democratic consultant

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