Democratic Candidates Amicably Stand Ground At CNN Town Hall

Last night's CNN Democratic Town Hall had laughs, friendly handshakes, respect for President Obama and the occasional swipe at the GOP.

The candidates had a final chance to speak to a range of Iowa Democrats seven days before next Monday's caucus.

Inequality, Wall Street, “political revolution,” the ritual Sanders talking points were all on display yesterday evening at Drake University. As his campaign manager Jeff Weaver relayed to Anderson Cooper before the event, the format is a good fit for Sanders.

Sanders had a friendly demeanor with the inevitable decibel hike when talking about his core message of income distribution and wealth inequality.

Host Chris Cuomo closed out Sanders’ appearance with an emotional discussion about his parents and what they would think of his journey to the U.S. Senate, or to becoming a candidate for president of the United States. “This would be so unimaginable. The fact that I’m a United States Senator would have been beyond anything they would have thought possible,” he said of his parents.



Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley spoke with candor and poise. The audience who asked him questions were either amused or overwhelmed by his charisma.

When asked whether he would tell his supporters which of the two other candidates to back, he simply replied: “Hold strong at your caucus. America is looking for a new leader.”

The only foreign policy questions of the night went to Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Notably, one audience member told her as a prelude to his question that he became a die-hard Clinton supporter after watching all 11 hours of her Congressional testimony about Benghazi.

Clinton was noticeably irked when the first question she received was from a young man, possibly a first-time voter, questioning her honesty. Like Sanders on income inequality, Clinton seamlessly moved into a discussion of electability and experience as often as possible.

The candidates reaffirmed their respective policy positions and did so with minimal jabs at each other.

It is unclear whether any of the candidates were able to convert undecided Iowans to their cause.

Other things voters learned: Bernie Sanders “was a very good long-distance runner,” and there’s video evidence that he still has it, while Hillary Clinton’s favorite president is Abraham Lincoln, “sorry President Obama, sorry Bill.”
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