Beyond Iowa & New Hampshire, Clinton is way ahead. photo via Hillary Clinton on Twitter

Beyond Iowa & New Hampshire, Clinton is way ahead.
photo via Hillary Clinton on Twitter

In both Nevada and South Carolina, Clinton holds double-digit advantages as the candidate who would do the best job handling the economy, health care, race relations, foreign policy and climate change, and is broadly seen as the candidate with the best chance to win in 2016 (58% say so in South Carolina, 59% in Nevada). [CNN]

IT IS tempting to focus on national polling, but it hardly tells the picture. What does is that beyond New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders is solidly ahead, and Iowa, where Clinton still leads by 11, the next two states, Nevada and South Carolina, are setting up to bolster Hillary Clinton through her strengths with minority voters.

In both Nevada and South Carolina, Clinton holds double-digit advantages as the candidate who would do the best job handling the economy, health care, race relations, foreign policy and climate change, and is broadly seen as the candidate with the best chance to win in 2016 (58% say so in South Carolina, 59% in Nevada). [CNN]

The Democratic debate on Tuesday comes after President Obama had a serious interview with Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes,” which revealed what will continue to wash over the Democratic candidates. The strength of President Obama’s continued leadership, as Americans listen to reports that Putin has flexed his considerably weaker geopolitical hand inside Syria and the Middle East, reflects on all the candidates, especially Hillary Clinton.

Steve Kroft: A year ago when we did this interview, there was some saber-rattling between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian border. Now it’s also going on in Syria. You said a year ago that the United States– America leads. We’re the indispensible nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership.

President Barack Obama: In what way? Let– let’s think about this– let– let–

Steve Kroft: Well, he’s moved troops into Syria, for one. He’s got people on the ground. Two, the Russians are conducting military operations in the Middle East for the first time since World War II–

President Barack Obama: So that’s–

Steve Kroft: –bombing the people– that we are supporting.

President Barack Obama: So that’s leading, Steve? Let me ask you this question. When I came into office, Ukraine was governed by a corrupt ruler who was a stooge of Mr. Putin. Syria was Russia’s only ally in the region. And today, rather than being able to count on their support and maintain the base they had in Syria, which they’ve had for a long time, Mr. Putin now is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally. And in Ukraine–

Steve Kroft: He’s challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He’s challenging your leadership–

President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris. My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world community to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon. And with respect to the Middle East, we’ve got a 60-country coalition that isn’t suddenly lining up around Russia’s strategy. To the contrary, they are arguing that, in fact, that strategy will not work.

Leadership, that’s the question for all the Democratic candidates on Tuesday.

When you look at what’s going on in the Republican party, especially in the House, the idea of leadership seems to be something different. Republicans are once again having an internecine war between the hard right who thinks governing has nothing to do with working with the majority of the country who doesn’t agree with you.

CNN has already said they’re not expecting the ratings Republicans get, which illustrates the differences in the primary race between the big two parties.

Democrats are trying to decide whether to go establishment or outsider, while Republicans can’t admit that the outsider who has been winning for months and months is someone most of the party doesn’t want to claim as their own.

Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley, Webb and Lessig Chaffee will meet on Tuesday, but the only candidate right now with long and deep support is Hillary Clinton.

The composition of the CNN moderators will make for a different debate than when Jake Tapper steered the Republican debate. That is the wild card for Clinton. You just can’t know what Don Lemon will ask on any given day.

CNN is employing some tactics to help boost ratings. Singer Sheryl Crow will be singing the national anthem. The network has also left the door open for Vice President Joe Biden to be on stage, even if he chooses declare the same day (CNN hosts have been tweeting photos of the extra podium for Biden — just in case.) The moderator will be Anderson Cooper in place of political junkie Jake Tapper, who was brought into the second GOP debate to help control and direct the three-hour, 11-person marathon. Anchor Don Lemon, who draws good ratings on his “CNN Tonight” show and is known for his unpredictability, will be asking questions along with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash and CNN Español anchor Juan Carlos Lopez. [Politico]