Primary Debates and Forums

CNN-Facebook Democratic Presidential Primary Debate
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV.
About  |  More Pre-Debate

screen grab from CNN   

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 from 9:00-11:00 p.m. E.T.

Post-Debate  |  transcript (2) |  video

:  CNN and Facebook.

Candidates:  Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders and Jim Webb. 

Moderator:  CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.  CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash and CNN en Español anchor Juan Carlos Lopez asked additional questions, and anchor Don Lemon presented questions to the candidates submitted through Facebook.


Broadcast: Live on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International, and streamed on CNNgo. Westwood One served as the exclusive radio broadcaster.

Format:  Two hours.

Overview:  Since the DNC announced its primary debate schedule on August 6, critics pushed for more and earlier debates.  The O'Malley campaign in particular made a major issue of the need for more debates (+), and some supporters of Bernie Sanders joined in as well.  Shouts of "more debates" punctuated DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's speech at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention on Sept. 19.   By the time this debate was held the Republican candidates had already met twice, on Aug. 6 in Cleveland, OH and on Sept. 16 in Simi Valley, CA.

In the lead up to the debate, there was a lot of speculation about whether Vice President Joe Biden would enter the race.  CNN even had a podium at the ready.  Biden of course did not appear, but the Draft Biden super PAC ran an several times during the debate (+). Underdog candidate Larry Lessig made a big push to be included (+) but did not succeed. 

However, most of the attention in the Democratic race before the debate focused on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  This debate change did not change that dynamic.  Many commentators opined that Hillary Clinton had won the debate or at least did very well, and her performance strengthened her frontrunner status.  Meanwhile, Martin O'Malley did not have a breakthrough moment and Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee had little impact; indeed within a couple of weeks following the debate both ended their campaigns for the Democratic nomination.