The 2016 Democratic presidential candidates held their first debate last night in Las Vegas, a lively affair in which the candidates largely came across as civil and well-informed. Hillary Clinton seems to have won the night by demonstrating the kind of confidence and competence that made the idea of Joe Biden entering the race seem unnecessary, but she had her weak moments as well. More top-line takeaways from Slate's ace coverage team:
- Clinton's claims about her record on climate change (specifically in regard to the 2009 Copenhagen summit) were either disingenuous or delusional.
- As was Bernie Sanders' justification for his NRA-friendly voting record on guns.
- Clinton was on much stronger ground when talking about foreign policy. (Although her vote for the Iraq war continues to constitute a nagging concern about her judgment.)
- She was also forceful on the issue of Planned Parenthood.
- Meanwhile, Lincoln Chafee did not help his already minuscule chances at all, seemingly to have little idea himself why he's running for president; Clinton at one point witheringly passed up a chance to rebut him with a simple "no."
- Martin O'Malley had trouble defending his record as the mayor of Baltimore.
- Moderator Anderson Cooper was sharp, well-prepared, and willing to push back against slippery answers.
- An early exchange about capitalism made clear that Bernie Sanders, while quite liberal, isn't actually all that much of a socialist.
- On the lighter side of things, Clinton made what was probably the first-ever presidential debate reference to how long it takes women to use the bathroom.
- While Sanders, in full dyspeptic grandpa mode, declared that the American public is sick of hearing about Hillary's "damn emails."
- And Jim Webb alluded casually to the time that he killed a North Vietnamese soldier who had thrown a grenade at him.
In non-debate news:
- A New York Times report gave further evidence that the U.S. is not leaving Afghanistan any time soon.
- Former NBA star Lamar Odom is still comatose after what seems to have been a drug overdose in Nevada.
- A Missouri man tried to put out a fire by driving his ammunition-filled truck over it, which was a bad idea.
Have a good day out there.