There were opportunities and risks for front-runner Hillary Clinton, who had to confront some voters’ doubts; Bernie Sanders, who sought to broaden his appeal; and Lincoln Chafee, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb, who were introduced to an audience of millions.


Lincoln Chafee, former senator and governor: His closing statement, with its emphasis on his experience and judgment, was his highlight. A reluctance to interrupt made him seem like a bystander for much of the debate, and he stumbled over his explanation of a long-ago Senate vote.

Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state: Questioners seemed bent on creating a Clinton-Sanders duel, and she took full advantage, displaying a command of issues. Perhaps mindful of recent critiques of her personality, she was expansive, smiling and quipping often.

Martin O'Malley, former governor, mayor: His delivery was mostly deadpan, but he managed frequent references to his governing experience. He conveyed optimism, particularly in his final words, but mentions of an obscure banking law had to be translated by moderators.

Bernie Sanders, senator: His willingness to interrupt, intensity and ample attention from questioners gave him almost as much airtime as Clinton. His serious mien only occasionally yielded to levity, and he sometimes referred to himself in the third person.

Jim Webb, former senator, Navy chief:  He came across as a little gruff and visibly frustrated by his inability to command the stage; at one point he lamented, “This hasn’t been equal time.” No other candidate can match his military service, which he successfully stressed.


Hillary Clinton's e-mails

Clinton: “This committee … is a partisan vehicle … to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise.”

Sanders: “The secretary is right. … The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”

Chafee: “We need someone that has the best in ethical standards as our next president.”

O'Malley: “Look how glad we are actually to be talking about the issues that matter.”

Contrast with Obama

Clinton: “I think being the first woman president would be quite a change.”

O'Malley: “I would push to separate out these too-big-to-fail banks.” 

Chafee: “We’ve got to stop these wars. … I would change our approach to the Middle East.”

Webb: “It would be in the use of executive authority. … We need to lead and energize the congressional process.”

Sanders: “The power of corporate America [means] the only way we really transform America … is through a political revolution.”

Race in the U.S.

Webb: “Every life in this country matters. … I have done the hard job, I have taken the risks.”

Clinton: “President Obama has been a great moral leader on these issues.”

O'Malley: “As a nation, we have undervalued the lives of … people of color. … We have a lot of work
to do.”

Sanders: “We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom and we need major, major reforms.”


Clinton: “I’m a progressive who knows how to get things done. … It’s our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism.”

Sanders: “We’re going to explain what democratic socialism is. … I believe in a society where all people do well.”


Chafee: “You’re looking at a block of granite on the issues. … Time and time again, I have never changed.”

Clinton: “Like most people that I know, I have a range of views, but they are rooted in my values and my experience.”

Foreign policy

Sanders: “I believe that we need coalitions to come together. … I do not believe in unilateral action.”

Webb: “The greatest strategic threat that we have right now is resolving our relationship with China.”

Clinton: “We have to stand up to [Russia’s] bullying. … They’ve got to be part of the solution.”

O'Malley: “No president … should take the military option off the table.”


Chafee: “No one is saying how we’re going to fix it. … Let’s go back to the tax code.”

O'Malley: “Separate the casino, speculative mega-bank gambling … from the commercial banking.”

Clinton: “The economy does better when you have a Democrat in the White House.”

Sanders: “What we need to do is create millions of jobs … raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

Webb: “The Wall Street money managers are not risking themselves the way the American people are.”


Sanders: “We need a path toward citizenship. We need to take people out of the shadows.”

Webb: “My wife is an immigrant. … No country is a country without defining its borders.”

O'Malley: “Our country is made stronger in every generation by the arrival of new immigrants.”

Clinton:  “I want … immigrants to be able to buy into the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.”


The Democratic presidential candidates will next face off for a prime-time debate at Drake University in Des Moines on Saturday, Nov. 14.