Welcome to the official Hillary HQ watch party for the first Democratic debate!
At 8:30pm Eastern/5:30pm Pacific tonight, I'll be conducting a liveblog of the entire broadcast. While a great deal of the focus will be on how Hillary is doing, rest assured that the other candidates will be far from ignored.
But it can't be a party if there's only one person around, so your comments during the debate are essential. Start or join a conversation below during the debate with fellow Hillary fans and I'll be sure jump in sometimes as well.
Sound fun? Alright. Here we go!
(by the way, huge turnout at this debate-watching event in Austin...with plenty of loud Hillary support. more on that later!)
7:43: Lovely singing, Sheryl Crow!
7:49: Chafee seems like a nice enough fella. I wish him the best after he drops out.
7:51: Webb has a solid record and was an able senator for Virginia. But he needs to do a better job remembering his daughters' names.
7:54: Solid opening from O'Malley. He may get to 3% after tonight!
7:56: No argument here with ANYTHING Bernie just said. Great opening.
8:00: Solid intro from Hillary, starting with a bit of the personal and some history and hitting a couple of the main beats of her platform. Well done! Here we go...
8:02: Tough early question for Hillary about charges of flip-flopping. "I'm a progressive who likes to get things done!" Great line.
8:04: Bernie gets the Democratic Socialist question right out of the gate. He says that Democratic Socialism needs to be explained and that we should look to Denmark and Norway for examples. Hmm...not sure about that...
8:06: Hillary steps in to defend capitalism and small businesses. But says we need to save capitalism from itself. That was awesome. Score one for Hillary! Bernie couldn't quite handle that one.
8:08: Linc is adamantly a block of granite. Ok, sure!
8:10: Is O'Malley about to cry? His first answer was very timid.
8:12: Ouch. Webb's Q&A on affirmative action did not go well at all.
8:14: Sanders gets the guns question...which stung all by itself. His answer was ok.
8:16: Hillary flat out says that Bernie is not strong enough on guns and goes after him hard on the Brady Bill! That one stung. Also gets big applause by saying we have to go after the NRA. Bernie's answer to this wasn't up to snuff.
8:19: O'Malley was better on this answer. Bernie goes back to talking about being from a rural state as a reason for his gun votes, but then even O'MALLEY goes after him. Vying for the #2 spot, are we?
8:20: Webb and Chafee are going on about it too...but anyway, again...Bernie is not coming off well here.
8:24: Hillary gets the Russia question, and says we must stand up to Putin's bullying. Turns to Syria. Bernie jumps in and says no ground troops. Hillary agrees.
8:26: Chafee questions Clinton on Iraq...and she knocks it out of the park when bringing up that Obama asked her to be his Secretary of State because of her judgement. Osama bin Laden, Iran sanctions, etc as examples of her good decision making. Well done!
8:27: Bernie waffles on when he would ever take military action. Pretty weak.
8:30: O'Malley: No-fly zone in Syria is a bad idea...as is Assad's invasion of Syria? Did I hear that right?
8:31: Clinton brings up that O'Malley endorsed her in '08. Definitely a highlight so far.
8:33: Bernie seems offguard about getting a Russia question again. "Putin will regret it" is no answer.
8:37: Clinton on gives strong answer on Libya, and why we went after Qaddafi in the first place. Benghazi came up, and it may come up again. O'Malley sort of backs her up.
8:39: Bernie says war should be the last resort and discusses his opposition to the Vietnam War. One of his strongest answers.
8:41: Hillary's answer that the biggest national security threat was nuclear proliferation was good. Bernie's answer about climate change was better.
8:46: Email! Hillary again says it wasn't the best choice but then takes aim at the Benghazi Committee. Great answer.
8:49: Bernie knows that the American people don't give a damn about her damn emails! Best damn moment of the debate so far! Then the handshake. Totally damn awesome!
8:51: Chafee goes there anyway. Bad damn idea.
8:55: Good answers from Bernie, Martin and Hillary on Black Lives Matter.
8:58: "The economy does better when you have a Democrat in the White House!" -Popular stump speech line from Clinton scores again.
9:04: Bernie, Hillary and Martin battle it out about Wall street, big banks and Glass-Steagall. No clear winner here, though Hillary held her own and reiterated that she takes a back seat to no one when it comes to her progressive record.
9:06: Webb keeps whining about not having enough time. Annoying and not smart.
9:07: Chafee claims he voted for something because he was new and didn't know what it was. Yikes!
9:13: Bernie talks free college. Hillary talks refinancing college debt and working 10 hours a week. Turns to defending and enhancing Social Security, and Bernie agrees.
9:20: Immigration reform. Bernie gets a tough question on his 2007 vote but handles it well. Clinton points out that everyone on the stage is way, way better than any Republican running. Great line, as was O'Malley's boasting of his immigration reforms in Maryland.
9:21: Sanders gets to boast about voting against the Patriot Act, but also said that he would get rid of the NSA before backtracking.
9:24: There seems to be agreement all around (even Sanders) that Edward Snowden broke the law and needs to face the music. Some Berners might be surprised.
9:29: Nice moment for Hillary pointing out that a big difference with Obama would be that she'd be the first woman president. Also says she would generally "go further" that Obama.
9:34: Hillary an insider? What's more outsider than the first woman president? Big applause.
9:35: Not running because she's a Clinton...but because she's the best. That's obvious, and another great answer.
9:41: Strong answers all around on climate change.
9:43: Clinton gives a great answer on paid leave and its success in California. Then forcefully hits at the hypocritical GOP who love small government, but only when it suits them. Great moment.
9:50: Sanders comes out for recreational weed, though Clinton comes off like a bit of a square on this. But basically, reiterates "lets keep learning about the effects" stance. Bernie took the braver rock'n'roll stance, though Hillary's cautious answer will likely play better in the general.
9:54: Biggest enemy? Hillary has a long list that keeps... on... going. But basically, Republicans. Hell yes!
9:58: Never thought I'd say this, but O'Malley's final statement was incredibly uplifting and spot-on. If he keeps this up, I may have to stop making fun of him!
10:02: Nice final statement from Hillary...similar to what we've been hearing on the stump regularly but well-delivered. And that's a wrap.
CNN says "Hillary's team is ecstatic." Understandable. I am too because I think she won...but overall I'm very proud to be a Democrat today.
Chafee and (especially) Webb both didn't come off well...but the only losers were the Republicans.
More on this incredible debate shortly. Thanks for reading!