Update October 15, 2015

Dhaka 10-49 pm, 14-May, 2021

Hillary steals the thunder in first debate

Sumel Sarker


Hillary steals the thunder in first debate

15 October 2015, Nirapad News: Front-runner Hillary Clinton was widely seen as a runaway winner in the first Democratic Presidential debate, delivering a commanding performance in which her experience of big stage and high office shone through.

Clinton reduced her four male opponents for the Democratic nomination to bumbling novices with an assured display of domestic and foreign policy expertise, although her nearest opponent, Vermont Senator and self-professed socialist Bernie Sanders, acquitted himself reasonably well as a challenging candidate of integrity and passion for the underdog.

Still, it was Sanders who gave Clinton the biggest break and boost of the evening when he rubbished the email controversy that has rocked her campaign, although the former secretary of state attacked his dodgy record on issues such as gun control.

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders burst out quite unexpectedly to applause from the audience and a handshake from a broadly grinning and much-relieved Clinton.

Clinton and Sanders dominated the debate, both in terms of effective point-scoring and time taken, leaving three other contenders, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, and former Senators, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee in the margins.

They clashed early when CNN host Anderson Cooper raised the issue of Sanders’ electability, given that socialists are considered suspect in American eyes and asked Clinton whether she considered herself a capitalist.

“I think we should look to countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” Sanders said, after qualifying that he was a “democratic socialist,” and was against the “casino capitalist process” where the top 1% made it good at the expense of the poor working class. The debate, incidentally, took place in Las Vegas, the world’s casino capital.

“We are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America,” Clinton chimed in, casting her net wider and presenting herself as a champion of the middle class and small business owners, who she suggested formed the backbone of capitalism.

But it was in the area of foreign policy that Clinton showed her grasp and fluency, showing her experience of more than two decades in Washington as a First Lady, a Senator, and secretary of state. From Syria and Russia to China and global warming, she was poised and confident.

By the end of the debate, two men who were not even on stage on Tuesday night were among the affected parties.

U.S. President Obama’s work across two terms got an endorsement from all the candidates, while his deputy, Vice-President Joe Biden, who has notionally threatened to enter the race, saw his opening evaporate in the face of Hillary Clinton’s polished performance that has put her back on track to the party nomination, and possibly to the White House.

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