Las Vegas Sun

July 23, 2014

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Flashing the debate

(Editor's note: Sun political columnist Jon Ralston was at the Democratic Presidential Debate. This is his updated report throughout the debate.)

7:47 p.m.

DNC official comments on lawsuit

Per Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic:

We are filing a motion to intervene because proceedurally its the only way we can file a brief in support of the Nevada state party.

"Obviously we support the Nevada state party and the previously recognized right of the national parties to set the rules for the nominating contests."

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7:30 p.m.

It's Yucca time! Clinton needles others on issue

Brian Williams asks if would end it:

BO:"I will end Yucca Mountain...hate to see billions of dollars spent on a mistake, spent additional billions of dollars

Not safe for people of America, I have been clear from the start..Yucca was illconceved project, how are we storing nuclear waste, get best experts around the table, what are options…..solution can be had

HRC: voted against Yucca Mountain in 2001, consistently against YM, held hearing in environment committee hearing (actually she got Barbara Boxer to do so) , not workable, science does not support it

HRC brings up Obama's support from Yucca-pusher Exelon -- and Edwards' two votes for it (before he got his mind right....I have consistently been against yucca mountain

BO retorts: Testimony to my commitment that despite my state has more nuclear power plants than any other state in the country....

JE: Science has been discovered, apparent forgery of documents

He quickly pivots because of mixed record, though, and talks about how he is only one against nuclear power....

Clinton reminds people Edwards voted twice for it

A dump debate in a presidential debate! Another first for The Little Caucus That Could.

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7:13 p.m.

DNC motion to intervene

See the court document

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7:08 p.m.

Democratic Nation files motion

which I will post soon.

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6:58 p.m.

It's Henderson, of course!

Must be first-ever mention of best city in Southern Nevada in a presidential debate. Not by a candidate, but by Natalie Morales who says e-mailed question is from Home Sweet Henderson.

A seminal moment in debate history!

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6:40 p.m.

Clinton, Obama spar over being good CEO

HRC plays off Gazette-Journal interview Obama did in which he said he is not operating officer:

She says there is "a difference here"....you have to be able to manage and run the bureaucracy, have to hold them accountable every day.....have to do both...it's a really hard job."

That was nicely done, an answer that goes to the heart of her experience and his Northern Nevada statement that the Clinton campaign surely sees as a vulnerability.

But Obama turned it around and used President Bush as being efficent, being "on time all the time, probably never lost a paper."

But said what he could not do is "bring people together.....nothing to do with managing a bureaucracy."

So he deftly turned it back to his theme -- change vs. experience.

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6:35 p.m.

Strengths and weaknesses

Russert asks each candidate to name biggest strength and weaknesses:

Obama: Brings people together but disorganized

Edwards: Fights for people but has powerful, emotional responses when sees people in pain

Clinton: Passionate about changing people's lives but gets really frustrated

Wow, they all seem to have great strengths and their weaknesses are so minor. They should run for president!

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6:20 p.m.

Obama, Clinton try to tamp down race discussion, bring in Nevada

Tim Russert asks Obama if effort to marginalize as black candidate deliberate: No, BO says.

In privacy of voting booth, did people use race as issue in NH?

BO: No. Sen. Clinton ran a good campaign in Nh…..it's going to be close everywhere we go, it's close here in Nevada……

Russert asks if HRC will disavow Bob Johnson and cocaine allusions:

HRC: Bob has put out a statement, what he thought he had said

She then says she went door to door in Las Vegas this week....construction workers laid off, casino workers laid off…….

Obama got Nevada in first, but that was very nicely done by Clinton.

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6:09 p.m.

Debate begins

Brian Williams begins right away with race – but divisive issue brings lovefest and non-responsive answers to question:

How did we get here (in this campaign with race issue)?

HRC: Says Obama and she agree neither race nor gender should play role…..also calls Edwards "an extraordinary success"……Says Obama and she have "exuberant and sometimes uncontrollable supporters."…..

BO: I think Hillary said it well…goes to defining moment mantra…..come together as a people

JE: Lived with it growing up…enormous responsibility not to go back but go forward…

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6:01 p.m.

NBC News declares Romney winner in Michigan. McCain is second, Huckabee third, network says.

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