The three Democrats running for the 2016 presidential nomination gathered in Iowa on Saturday night for the second debate of the campaign. Coming just 24 hours after the attacks in Paris, the first 30 minutes of the two-hour debate at Drake University focused on foreign policy before it turned to economic inequality, health care and other domestic issues.
We annotated -- and are still annotating! -- the full debate transcript. I also picked a handful of debate winners and losers. Here are my picks.
* Martin O'Malley: When you are as low in state and national polling as the former Maryland governor is, simply getting people to know — or look up — your name is a win. And O'Malley did that on Saturday night — literally.
He also showed a willingness to go at Hillary Rodham Clinton aggressively and unapologetically. And to tout his record as having accomplished many of the liberal goals that Clinton and Bernie Sanders just talk about. His riff on why candidates shouldn't use the phrase "boots on the ground" was powerful, even if he did use an anecdote (hate!) to make his point.
It wasn't a perfect debate performance from O'Malley; his response on the crisis that he had dealt with in his life that would prepare him for the presidency — he didn't have one — was really bad, particularly because it directly followed Clinton citing her involvement in the death of Osama bin Laden in response to the same question. Still, taken in its totality, the debate was one of the better moments for O'Malley in this race.
* Domestic policy Bernie Sanders: The Vermont socialist's passion shines through when he is talking about the need to break up the big banks, the threat posed by economic inequality and the necessity of campaign finance reform. If you are an undecided Democrat, Sanders's answers on virtually every domestic policy question likely made your heart soar. One major mistake: Sanders, again, passed on a chance to use a question about Clinton's e-mails to make a broader point about the sort of choice facing Democratic voters.
* John Dickerson: As we've seen multiple times already this year, hosting a debate is very, very hard work. Dickerson, the anchor of CBS's "Face the Nation," handled his duties with aplomb, gravity and, most important of all, a sense of humor. Dickerson asked the candidates to answer tough questions and defend past inconsistencies. When they didn't do so, he followed up to get more direct answers. And he did it all with a smile on his face. Well done. (Side note: Kudos to CBS for including Kathie Obradovich, a longtime fixture of Iowa political reporting, on its reporter panel.)
* Real-time Twitter questions: I've been very critical of the sponsorship of these debates by Facebook and Twitter (among other social media giants) since the key element of social media — its immediacy to channel public sentiment and raise important questions — never gets included in the debate. No more! Or at least not this time! Using real-time questions — particularly to Clinton on her odd (and bad) use of 9/11 to defend her Wall Street donations (more on that below) — was Twitter for a debate done right.
* Viking River Cruises: I'm sold! Those things look fun. Where can I sign up?
* Hillary Clinton: No, the former secretary of state wasn't bad. In fact, she was quite good for much of the debate. The problem was that Clinton made a few verbal and/or policy mistakes that will likely haunt her in the days to come. The biggest was her attempt to downplay the number of donations she receives from Wall Street by citing the work she did to help rebuild the financial sector of New York City following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That's, um, not a very good response — and Democrats blasted her for it.
My dad worked in WTC from the day it was built to the day it went down. @HillaryClinton, never invoke 9/11 to justify your Wall St positions
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) November 15, 2015
She also refused a chance to say the words "radical Islam" when asked about the threat posed by the Islamic State — a decision that Republicans jumped on in the moment and will keep bringing up if and when Clinton is the Democratic nominee.
Yes, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism. #DemDebate
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 15, 2015
And, in a less-serious but not less-impactful moment, Clinton let loose this gem:
The TV ad, particularly if Republicans nominate someone like Marco Rubio, who is 45 years old (Clinton is 68), practically writes itself.
* Foreign policy Bernie Sanders: Sanders knew that the first question in the debate was going to be about the attacks in Paris — and what America should be saying and doing about them. And yet, he simply offered condolences to the people of France before moving on to his standard stump speech excoriating the "millionaires and billionaires." It felt very off. Sanders regained his footing somewhat when the topic turned to the vote on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq (he opposed it, Clinton supported it). But, the moment had passed, and Sanders had swung and missed at a chance to show that he could be a statesman as opposed to simply a domestic policy revolutionary.
* Wall Street: BREAKING: Bernie Sanders doesn't like you! At all!
* Saturday night debates: Saturday nights are for college football and falling asleep on the couch. Come on, Democratic National Committee!