Clinton-Sanders Debate: What to Watch Thursday

'Make-or-break' for Sanders campaign?
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2016 11:09 AM CDT
Clinton-Sanders Debate: What to Watch Thursday
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during a debate in February.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate in Brooklyn at 9pm Eastern Thursday on CNN, and most of the advance coverage suggests the stakes are unusually high this time around. A sampling:

  • Why it matters: It's "Sanders’ last chance to shake up the race in a state where he must pull off a major upset to change the dynamics of the Democratic primary," declares Politico.
  • Potentially ugly: The race has gotten increasingly bitter of late—see Sanders here and Clinton here—a "stark contrast" to the campaign's early days, notes CNN. The debate, then, could be the nastiest yet, and most previews have this factor as the top one to watch.
  • But ... Being face to face is different, says NPR. "Will he hold back this time? Will Clinton come out swinging, or will it be a nice, polite, wonky tea party as many of the past debates have been?"

  • 'Trap' for Sanders: It's "make-or-break" for Sanders, observes Time, but the analysis suggests that his criticism of Clinton could backfire if he comes off as too caustic or dismissive.
  • Clinton strategy: In earlier debates, she's taken the "uninspiring position" of siding with Sanders in spirit but calling his proposals too unrealistic, says a post at the New York Times. "The debate could be her best opportunity, before the end of primary voting in June, to convey a vision of the presidency more enthralling than the pragmatic pursuit of incremental liberal policy change."
  • Two big issues: With the debate in New York City, expect questions about Wall Street and terrorism. At least on the surface, the first plays to Sanders' strengths, while Clinton can use her foreign policy experience on the latter, notes ABC News. Can either turn the tables?
  • That interview: The Hill is watching to see whether Sanders can recover from the perception that he's big on talk but short on policy logistics following his interview with the Daily News editorial board. Clinton pounced on the issue.
(Read more Democratic debate stories.)

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