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Democrats Debate in the Shadows of a Saturday Night Before Christmas

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Reprinted from The Nation

The Democratic debate schedule keeps the candidates out of the limelight. That's bad politics.

From youtube.com/watch?v=n0mv6M0QOoE: Democratic Debate
Democratic Debate
(Image by YouGotNews, Channel: YouGotNews)
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That was a good debate.

Let's have some more of them.

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Let's have a lot more of them.

And let's have a lot more of them on weeknights, when viewership, listenership and general attention is likely to be dramatically greater than on "ratings-disaster" weekend nights.

Saturday night's debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, went deep on the issues, highlighting genuine differences between the three Democratic candidates. Things got contentious at times; but the disagreements were about policies and programs rather than the pettiness and personalities that now fully defines the Republican debate.

After Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton dialed down tensions over the Democratic National Committee data breach, with Sanders apologizing for a fired aide who was accused of accessing data inappropriately ("this is not the type of campaign that we run") and Clinton accepting that apology ("we should move on because I don't think the American people are interested"), the contenders divided sharply over foreign policy.

Suggesting that Clinton was too hawkish with regard to past and present fights in the Middle East, Sanders said,"Our differences are very deep on this issue. We disagree on the war in Iraq, we both listened to the information from Bush and Cheney, I voted against the war. But I think, and I say this with due respect, I worry too much that Secretary Clinton is too much into regime change and a little bit too aggressive without knowing what the unintended consequences might be." Clinton pushed back, arguing that, "All of these are very difficult issues. I know that, I've been dealing with that for a very long time," and suggesting that, in the fight against ISIS, "We now finally are where we need to be. We have a strategy and a commitment to go after ISIS, which is a danger to us as well as the region."

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