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While CNN’s panels of partisan analysts and journalists had their thoughts on which Democratic candidates did well in their debate, host Chris Cuomo stated best when he deduced that “the consensus, though, is that this was not the type of night of ambition we expected.” One analyst was so distraught he declared he was “dispirited.” Not what the Democratic National Committee wanted to hear going into the Iowa caucuses.
The first to register his displeasure with the debate was former Obama adviser David Axelrod. He thought Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and former Vice President Joe Biden had their tout-able moments but seemed disappointed there were no “fiery moments” that stood out.
“There were some confrontations but for whatever reason and it may be that people are uneasy in a race where people are well-liked, generally, to take on folks that might drive second choices away, drive the undecided away,” he said.
Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was “surprised” and “shocked” by the lack of aggression from the candidates. “I mean, this is the last shot you've got until the Iowa caucus in three weeks. The four front runners, nobody went after each other. I was really surprised at that. Joe Biden has been leading the race since he got into it, nobody touched him tonight, nobody went after him. It was just shocking to me that this is your last shot to make an impression before you go in it,” he lamented.