The candidate shows resourcefulness in the debate on TV and shies away from difficult questions about the email scandal. Biden lost ground in the dispute, say analysts.
The first debate among the Democratic presidential candidates in the American presidential election revealed a polarization between Hillary Clinton and the leftist Bernie Sanders. They held opposite positions on central issues such as the activities of large banks, gun control, the legalization of marijuana and on issues concerning race and immigration. Analysts, however, were unanimous in declaring victory for Hillary, and many concluded that the space for Vice President Joe Biden — who didn’t attend the event — to run for the Democratic nomination became smaller.
The debate, held in prime time on CNN, obtained an audience estimated at 15.3 million viewers, a record for Democrats, but below the figure in the two Republican candidate debates — 24 million (Fox News) and 22.9 million (CNN), respectively, according to the Nielsen television ratings. Media analysts explain the difference by the fact that the discussions among Republicans bring out controversial and colorful figures such as Donald Trump, who are not always concerned about keeping the conversation civilized.
With sharp, sometimes even aggressive, answers, Hillary showed confidence, revealing her vast political experience and differentiating herself from her rivals. In fact, her career dates back to the period when she was an active first lady, when she tried to launch a healthcare program similar to Obamacare. She has also served in senior positions in the legislative and executive branches of government.
As senator, she supported the Iraq invasion. When questioned about this in the debate, she recalled that she was questioned by Obama in the 2008 debates when they faced each other, but later, when he was elected, he invited her to be secretary of state.
Hillary’s alleged weakness, the scandal over using her private email account for issues regarding the White House when she was Obama’s secretary of state, was minimized as nonsense, even by her opponents. Even Trump admitted that the senator performed well in the debate, saying on MSNBC that “she did what she had to do.”
The mediator, anchor Anderson Cooper from CNN, questioned the fact that Hillary describes herself as “progressive,” but acts in moderation. “I am a progressive,” she replied. “But I am a progressive who likes to get things done.” She added, “I know how to find the middle ground and how to defend my point of view.” Excluding what there is of campaign rhetoric in this response, she reveals the pragmatism of her personality: Defending her positions — such as having better control over the sale of weapons — but being open to dialogue.
Considering the internal and external challenges facing the next American president, such conduct seems in the first instance to have more chance of success than the more extreme positions of the left or right. But as for everything that will come after Obama, this is only beginning.