New York Post debate analyst Peter Kauffmann is the founder and principal of Bluejacket Strategies, a public affairs firm in New York. During the 2016 election cycle, he was an adviser to Priorities USA, the primary super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He has also served as a senior campaign adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, press secretary for Sen. Clinton and spokesman for the DNC.
“Preseason is over,” Kauffmann said. “The Democratic race got real tonight, and these candidates started to realize that only one of them is leaving Iowa with a W.”
Having only six candidates on stage means: “They have the time to make their points in a way that they haven’t before.”
The debate “definitely was more combative than it has been” and part of that was “the moderators really trying to go out of their way to draw confrontation.”
In the past, “there was one frontrunner everyone attacked, and tonight you had all the frontrunners going after each other.”
That is except for billionaire Tom Steyer.
“There were five candidates on stage and then Tom Steyer,” Kauffmann said.”He just didn’t fit. We’re at the serious point in the campaign, and he just doesn’t belong in this group.”
In the much-anticipated dust-up between Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, she was victorious.
“He sounded angry and came across as petulant in trying to win the point,” while, “she went past it.”
Other standouts included Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar who deftly answered questions and appealed to a larger swath of voters.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren:Warren shined. She was ready for the much-anticipated question about the electability of a female nominee and nailed it. Her answer transcended the campaign dustup with Sanders and spoke to the ideals of the Democratic Party.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg:Once again, he scored big as the lone outsider. He is a skilled debater who answers every question in a way that reinforces the central narrative of his campaign — that Washington is broken and he can fix it.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar:She was on top of her game tonight. She’s an effective storyteller who knows how to drive home a point. And she was definitely on-brand with a lot of Midwestern pragmatism.
Billionaire Tom Steyer:A waste of podium. There’s no rationale for Steyer to be on this stage. His spot could have gone to any in a long list of more qualified candidates who have had to drop out.
Former Vice President Joe Biden:The bar was a lot higher as the frontrunner. He made no big mistakes — but also scored no major points. If he was looking to close out Iowa with a crescendo, he failed.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:He’s been running for president non-stop for the past six years, but hasn’t added to his coalition in all that time. He effectively delivered pieces of his stump speech. If you love Bernie, you loved it.
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