The week in politics: #DemDebate (finally) – USA TODAY
Happy Saturday and welcome to this week’s OnPolitics roundup. Let’s savor the debate-less week we have ahead of us and get down to the headlines.
After more than two months of chatter of the GOP debates, the Democratic candidates finally got their turn in the debate limelight. And while it wasn’t as zinger-filled as those of their Republican counterparts, it did seem to prove one thing to strategists and voters alike: Hillary Clinton is the front-runner for a reason. One moment that helped Clinton out: When Bernie Sanders declared that America was “sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” Sanders held his own during the debate, but the tide appears to have turned for Clinton, who has regained a narrow lead over Sanders in New Hampshire. The other winner of the debate night: the ratings. While it didn’t make the splash that the Republican debates have, Wednesday’s debate was still the most widely watched Democratic debate ever recorded, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.
The week in Biden
One thing that still hasn’t been settled post-debate: the ongoing question over Vice President Joe Biden’s candidacy. CNN even brought in an extra podium just in case Biden jumped into the race at the last minute, but alas, he did not. He’s continued to “no comment” his way through the issue. If he does decide to run, a top aide says he’ll do it “from the heart.” Still, Hillary Clinton’s strong performance in the debate may have quieted talk of a Biden candidacy, and another politician has gone on the record to call for Biden to end all the talk and support Clinton: Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Cruz is cruisin’
Who’s on the rise? That’d be Sen. Ted Cruz, who placed at No. 4 in this week’s USA TODAY GOP Power Rankings. Says one Republican strategist: “At some point, this likely comes down to Trump or Cruz versus one of the more traditional GOP candidates.” His gradual rise means not-so-great news for Carly Fiorina, who fell to No. 5 as she continues to try to figure out how to change her debate performances into real momentum.
Carson gains on Trump by being like Trump, according to Trump
In two polls this week, Donald Trump and Ben Carson continued to dominate. And if you ask Trump why that is, it’s because Carson is making controversial statements that become headlines. “He’s been getting a lot of ink on the Muslims and other things. And I guess people look at that and they probably like it. Some people thought they wouldn’t like it, but they probably do,” Trump told ABC News this week. The man would know.
It’s all about the Benjamins
The third-quarter fundraising numbers are out. The highlights: Hillary Clinton is outraising and outspending everyone, Donald Trump is getting money even though he said he’d self-fund his campaign and Jeb Bush isn’t doing nearly as well as he was earlier this year.
Best Vine of the week
Bernie Sanders danced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week. We will never forget it. Neither should you.