Risë Birnbaum

Andersen Cooper

OK, I admit it.  I’m a Democrat.  My best guess is Hillary will win the nomination and the presidency, but nothing’s a sure thing.  The first democratic debate in Vegas was a good showing for the Dems and for CNN’s Anderson Cooper.  Instead of ranting and pointing fingers like spoiled children, they simply and calmly discussed the issues like adults.  The topics ranged from income equality and climate change to Russia and Hillary’s e-mails (Bernie the Mensch shut that topic down).  Yes, there could have been more about how exactly we achieve climate change and specific ways to level the playing field for the middle class, but all in all, for the first debate it was pretty good stuff.  Except for Jim Webb’s occasional pleas for more time and Lincoln Chaffee’s “first vote” (not sure he knew what he was voting on), it was smooth sailing, especially for Hillary, Bernie, and Martin O’Malley, a really good guy who’s been a bit overlooked.   Anderson Cooper did a terrific job as moderator.  He was up on all the news, knew when to ask a follow up question or throw it to another candidate for a response and kept all the debaters pretty much to their time limits.  And he did it all with poise, grace and intelligence.  In short, he kept the party going.

What a difference between Anderson and other moderators.  Anderson’s a class act and I’d vote for him in a minute to take over as permanent moderator.  He’s a cut above the others and he stole the show.

Another surprise debate winner?  Vegas.  There was a party in the streets, candidates’ names and faces in lights a mile high and probably some betting on who would “win.”  And I even think Jim Webb left the stage at one point to play some blackjack.

Next time I hope the Democrats get to talk more about women’s reproductive health and immigration, but one thing is for sure — there ‘s a stark difference between the Republican candidates and the Democratic candidates, and I’m glad I’m on the side of sanity.

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