For months, reports about the Democrats' chances of retaining the White House have centered on Hillary Clinton's personal emails while she was Secretary of State. During the party's first debate last night, Bernie Sanders had a surprise for political commentators, the audience at a Las Vegas casino — and Hillary Clinton. The Vermont Senator said he was sick of hearing about Clinton's emails, so the candidates found other points of difference.
But the biggest contrast was between their polite, sometimes pointed, discussion of issues and the relentless political combat displayed recently by Republicans. Nobody had expected that kind of conflict, but last night's event drew a massive audience — giving three also-rans the chance to make themselves known. We look at some of the moments that are setting the stage for the party primaries and the general election beyond.