Democratic presidential candidate debate in Vegas- First impressions

By George Miller, Las Vegas- 10-13-15

The most striking thing about being at the first 2016 Democrat election campaign presidential debate tonight was the contrast with the Republican event at the Reagan Library last month. Moderators commented on the Republicans attacking each other, but CNN’s questions were designed to do that. Although Anderson Cooper and other moderators asked some tough questions, they didn’t push the Democrat candidates as hard to answer them fully. Also the Dem candidates weren’t as harsh with each other, although some “blood was drawn.”

Below: Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee


Democrat presidential candidates right before the start of the 10-13-15 candidate debate in Las Vegas. Photo: Marc Langsam/

– Even though both parties’ candidates are dealing with the same country and the same problems, they seem like they are addressing different countries. Both parties are at fault here.

– There are significant differences in priorities between the parties. Democrats all want more income transfer programs and in most cases a larger role of government.

– The Democrats are much closer ideologically than the Republicans, except for Webb, who looks more like an old-line “Conservative Democrat.” So, they had more difficulty differentiating among themselves, except for matters of perceived competence, priorities and ethics.

– Democrats talk about civil discourse, but attacked just as viciously as the Republicans did, but do not fight amongst themselves as much as the Republicans. Most gave Hillary a pass on her ethical challenges, such as emails, security breaches, Benghazi. They all pulled together to protest the Republican congressional investigations of Clinton, emails and Benghazi.. When Sanders said “enough of the emails,” it got the loudest and longest round of applause of the evening.

– Partisan attacks are normal in election campaigns and even afterward, but some were quite distorted and even untrue.

Some key issues covered in agreement:

– Democrats’ signature stance is defending groups: minorities, immigrants (legal or otherwise), LGBT and women. They claim Republicans don’t do these, but Republicans say all groups/rights (all lives?) should be protected.  Democrats only argued among themselves about who does it better.

– Campaign finance reform- all agreed, but Clinton continues to take big corporate money.

– All candidates agreed that the Iraq war was a huge mistake. Clinton voted for it. All agree that we should be careful about foreign wars, but some support the Syrian and Libyan actions, Clinton had to do some back pedaling.

– Gun control. All are for it to some degree, but Sanders wants less than Clinton, Chafee and O’Malley, but Webb wants even less, recognizing the right to self-defense and gun owenship and prefertring to keep them out of the wrong hands. The other three have said they don’t want to take away gums but have indicated with their actions and advocacy that they would vastly reduce it.

– All Democrats agreed that big TBTF (Too Big To Fail) banks, corporate America, were selfish., greedy,. Some even talked of “casino” gambling  Wall Street firms (not nice to their host Wynn’s). But when  asked if “Capitalism” was evil, both  Clinton and Webb backed off a bit, admitting it was an engine for the success of the USA. All oppose bank bailouts, but Sanders and Chafee voted for them.

– All agreed that Republican candidates were terrible, some are “clowns,” racists, cruel, heartless, not working for the people, but for the 1%.

– All were for 100% renewable energy, except Webb, who favors Keystone Pipeline, and also some nuclear power added to the mix along with renewables. All believe in manmade Global Warming. but Webb said  can’t solve it ourselves- must be an international solution, especially with China and India. Others then agreed with him.

– All favor “immigration reform, no deportations, path to Citizenship, come out of the shadows.”

We will publish a more comprehensive report of the debate, with more detail  on candidate positions, contrasted with other Democratic  candidates and the Republicans.

Watch the first Democratic presidential debate Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 pm PT) live on CNN and CNNgo; join the conversation at #DemDebateWe will post an in depth report on the debate when we’re back in Ventura County, CA.

Vegas1 008

Wynn’s Hotel, Las Vegas- site of 1st Democratic presidential candidates debate- 10-13-15. Photo: Marc Langsam/

 We may update this article, if we can find WiFi along the way.

Editor’s note: was credentialed by CNN to cover the Tuesday debate at Wynn’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Publisher George Miller and Photographer Marc Langsam were on site. Watch this site for existing and additional articles over the next couple of days

Media filing Room Photo: Marc Langsam/

It looked to us as if Sanders scored the most points. followed by Webb. Most in the press corps we talked to seemed to think it was Clinton, followed by Sanders.  The initial TV polls showed Sanders the big winner, followed by Clinton, then Webb.


George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

Get free BULLETINS. Please patronize our advertisers to keep us publishing and/or DONATE.

Scroll down to comment

4 Responses to Democratic presidential candidate debate in Vegas- First impressions

  1. L Tooker October 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Received from L Tooker …
    Good debate last night. Some won, some lost.

    Secretary Clinton protested that the Select Committee on Benghazi is spending $4.5 million taxpayers’ money to investigate why our Ambassador, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, and two CIA contractors were allowed to be assassinated. Yep, a lot of money. In fact, it’s 36 seconds out of the national budget…

    The U.S. 2015 Federal Budget is $3.9 trillion. That is $3,900,000,000,000. That is also $124,008 per second, of every day, around the clock, 24-7. Everybody knows that, right?

    The Committee is using 36 seconds out of the national budget to find out how it happened and why we failed to protect them. To me, sounds like a bargain. The cost of truth.

    During the 180 minutes of the debate, the government spent $1.339 billion, ($7,440,476 per minute),
    297 times the cost of the Committee on the Assassination of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty.

    It took two years to obtain truth and justice in Watergate – and no one even died.
    Do we owe a Benghazi inquiry any less effort? $4.5 million. A bargain.


  2. AVRC Stalker October 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Look forward to your “More complete analysis” first I would like the authors to clear up what was meant by this statement: ” Partisan attacks are normal in election campaigns and even afterward, but some were quite distorted and even untrue.”

    Secondly, whose “gums” are referred to in the statement in the article under the gun control segment: “The other three have said they don’t want to take away gums but have indicated with their actions and advocacy that they would vastly reduce it.”

    Geeze, who proofs these articles? Are you libs just trying to attack early and often?

    • Citizen Reporter October 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

      Hi Stalker:

      1. Thanks for writing. You’ll have to wait for the long version, which we’ll squeeze in between sleep, a city council meeting and other duties. It was great to be at the most recent Republican and Democratic debate, for perspective. A pity that there isn’t more high profile competition.

      2. Re: “Geeze, who proofs these articles?”: No one proofed this one, actually. It was written on the fly and posted not long after we left the spin room at 9:35 and before we hit the road to come home to CA at 10 PM. Thanks for catching the typo. We fixed that and several others. We thought that timeliness was more important and there was no one on duty so late to look at it.

      3. Debate comments from readers solicited!

      – G.M.

  3. William "Bill" Hicks October 14, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Slouching Towards Gomorrah.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *