Debate wrap-up

DEBATE WRAPUP….The latest debate for Democratic presidential candidates just wrapped up, and I was impressed with how different this one was from the rest, both in style and substance. It focused specifically on issues important to the African-American community, featuting a panel of minority journalists. Tavis Smiley moderated, and I hope the other networks were paying attention to how well he kept the event moving — without inane raise-your-hand questions. For that matter, there won’t be any complaints about some candidates dominating; everyone got the same questions and the same opportunitities to speak.

The candidates were on their best behavior — there were no pointed barbs tonight — which kept things substantive. I didn’t see any campaign-changing moments, though Hillary Clinton just about brought the house down when she said AIDS would be a higher national priority if it were the number one killer of white women ages 25 to 34. (The comment drew the loudest, most sustained applause of the night.)

Let’s consider this a debate open thread. Who won? Who lost? Who watched?

And why did this nationally-televised debate get so much less attention than the previous ones? There was very little live-blogging tonight, though I noticed Chris Cillizza was keeping up.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.