|Photo courtesy of CNN.com.|
However, I was anxious this morning to see how viewers rated the two Democratic candidates. It was my good fortune that CNN posted Todd Graham's response to the performances of Bernie and Hillary; Graham is director of debate at Southern Illinois University.
To start with, Graham gave Hillary an A- and Bernie a D. From what I saw, those grades are about right. Graham followed with a detailed critique of the pair's performances:
(CNN)For Thursday night's Democratic debate, I'm focusing my debate coach evaluation squarely on improvements.
Hillary Clinton: A-
She still interrupts too much. No improvement there.
She still has a terrible answer to the question of why she won't release her Wall Street speech transcripts. But Sanders won't release all his tax returns either. (They're both still ducking questions with answers that don't pass the smell test.)
However, Clinton did have a better debate in some significant ways. The first was in demanding Sanders produce examples of her being influenced by Wall Street, as he has so often charged. She asked for an example, and when he couldn't come up with one, she said, "This is a phony attack designed to raise questions with no evidence or support... he cannot come up with any example, because there is no example."
Good response...but this wasn't even her best retort of the night.
In a discussion about the U.S.-backed military operation in Libya, for the first time, while admitting that the ouster of Moammar Ghadafi didn't work out as well as hoped, Clinton compared Libya to Syria. Bashar al-Assad is a terrible dictator, just like Gadhafi was, she argued. The difference, she pointed out? Syria is worse now, and a bigger threat to the United States than Libya is, but Syria still has Assad. The effective takeaway? So perhaps keeping dictators in place isn't better than removing them.
But neither was this her best argument of the night.