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Primary Debates and Forums

ABC News Democratic Debate
Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 in  at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH.
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L-R: Sanders, Clinton, O'Malley                                                                                        Screen grab from ABC News.

Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 8:00  E.T.

  |  transcript  |  video

Sponsors:  ABC News.

Candidates:  Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders.

Moderators:  ABC News “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir and Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz.

Audience:  About 1,000.


Format:  Opening statements.  Ninety seconds to respond to questions; 45 seconds for follow ups and rebuttals.  Closing statements.

Overview:  The debate occurred on the Saturday before Christmas, a date seemingly not designed to attract a large viewing office.  It also on the heels of the data breach kerfuffle (+), which was the subject of the opening question; Bernie Sanders apologized to Clinton and to his supporters.  Subjects ranged from ISIS to gun control, health care and education.  Together the candidates mentioned Donald Trump a dozen times.  Clinton scored the most Tweeted moment with her Star Wars "May the force be with you" closing line.  All the candidates performed well; neither Sanders or O'Malley scored a breakout moment.

Despite the less than optimal timing of the debate, the DNC highlighted the fact that, "Saturday’s Democratic debate brought in 7.8 million viewers – the sixth-largest audience for a Democratic primary debate in history, and more than every single Republican primary debate in 2008 and 2012."