Clinton ‘presidential’ in debate



Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, speaks as Hillary Rodham Clinton looks on during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By Rebecca Morin  |  [email protected]

Hillary Clinton isn’t going anywhere.

At the first Democratic debate of the election cycle, several experts that spoke to The Daily Iowan said Clinton has solidified her role as frontrunner, some going as far to say she looked “presidential.”

“She was strong, she was in command of the facts, she was aggressive, and she even showed a little humor,” said David Yepsen, the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. “I think she turned a corner in her campaign [Tuesday night].”

Beginning at about 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, the five major Democratic candidates took the stage for the first Democratic debate at Wynn Las Vegas in which topics such as Black Lives Matter, climate change, and even Clinton’s emails were brought up.

The three candidates who continued to pave their road for their campaigns were Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley, experts said.

The nearly two-hour-and-15 minute debate focused on the differences between frontrunner Clinton and the next leading candidate, Sanders.

One issue Clinton and Sanders did not see eye-to-eye on was the use of ground troops in conflicts in the Middle East such as Syria. It was also linked to Clinton’s support of the Iraq War during her tenure as senator. Sanders, however, voted against it in the first place.

“Let’s understand, when we talk about Syria, we’re talking about a quagmire within a quagmire,” Sanders said during the debate. “I learned a very powerful lesson on the cost of war. I’ll do everything I could do to not  be involved in another quagmire like in Iraq.”

Though Sanders spoke eloquently, said Mack Shelley, the head of the Iowa State University Political Science Department, Clinton came off as an “aggressive candidate.”

“Hillary did better than you might have expected,” he said.

Some say the debate was also a moment for people to really get to know O’Malley’s name.

Jennifer Herrington, the head of the Page County Democrats, said she believes O’Malley did himself “the most good.”

“The candidates themselves rose above and were mutually respectful and supportive of one another,” Herrington said. “They all have mostly the same ideas of how to move the country forward. All are good progressives, with the exception of maybe Jim Webb.”

Webb, a former Virginia senator, and Lincoln Chafee, a former Rhode Island governor, were the two lowest polling candidates on stage.

Denny Perry, the head of Dickinson County Democrats, said he is a Clinton supporter but noted that all the candidates did a comparable job compared with the candidates in the Republican debate.

“The candidates represented the Democratic Party magnificently,” the 65-year-old said. “We got to hear about issues, and it was an honest attempt to discuss the issues.”

Several watch parties were held across the state including Iowa City, the largest city in Johnson County — Iowa’s most liberal county.

Seth Petchers, who attended a Sanders watch party at Mosley’s, 525 S. Gilbert St., said he is still between Clinton and Sanders as his choice candidate.

“I am willing to make small compromises to see that a Democrat is elected to the white house,” Petchers said.

Though Rob Humble, 25, attended a Clinton watch party, and is caucusing for Clinton, he said Sanders was also an impressive candidate.

“She was well-informed of what other candidate positions on issues are,” he said. “That being said, Sanders did a really good job highlighting issues and made it very clear that this race isn’t Bernie vs. Hillary, it’s about the issues.”


Reporters Ali Krogman and Tom Ackerman contributed to this article.

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