Indictment, Ortega and Castro, Univision Debate Scalds Dems photo by Michael Davidson for Hillary for America

Indictment, Ortega and Castro, Univision Debate Scalds Dems
photo by Michael Davidson for Hillary for America

By throwing the kitchen sink at Bernie, Hillary sounded nervous and even somewhat desperate – certainly more so than she needs to be. [Washington Post]

MODERATED BY Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post and Maria Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos of Univision, Wednesday’s CNN debate gave its audience a rare spectacle. Journalists who didn’t give a squat about making things comfortable for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

Univision’s amateur technical glitches made for a very embarrassing beginning. A microphone malfunction plagued Bernie Sanders from the top, and the simultaneous translation caused everyone to squawk on social media.

Boring down on substance it was emails and indictment questions for Clinton while Sanders got a video flashback about Castro and Ortega. With Hispanics focused on the economy like everyone else, these subjects provided fodder for comment sections and talking heads but not much else.

It was Jorge Ramos who first set the discussion ablaze.

Ramos pressed Clinton on whether Obama had given her permission, and she said that no permission was necessary. Then the Univision anchor repeated his question about whether she would drop out if she were indicted. “Oh, for goodness—” she said, not hiding her irritation. “That’s not going to happen. I’m not even answering that question.” – John Sullivan [The New Yorker]

It was a world away from the conversation the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump had with Anderson Cooper preceding the debate in which he proclaimed, “I think Islam hates us.” Swirling around his campaign is escalating thuggery and mayhem.

There’s just no getting around that Hillary Clinton had a really tough night and seemed to still be reeling from the surprise Michigan loss. Even then she found ways to connect to her audience, using the line that she’s “not a natural politician” like her husband or President Obama, as well as talking directly to a questioner. Bernie Sanders had new confidence and showed it, his relaxation on the debate stage post-Michigan upset showing through with his humor and unrelenting volleying with Clinton. His toughest moment was when the moderators played a 1985 clip out of history.

From Michael Tomasky who has been scorching Sanders daily for weeks, and is inclined towards Clinton, had a wake-up call after Michigan.

Clinton’s problem with young voters held pace as Sanders won four out of five voters age 30 and under. But it expanded—in Michigan, he walloped her by 24 points among those between 30 and 39. Thirty-nine isn’t so young. So her problem now isn’t just with “young voters.” It’s with virtually all voters who weren’t adults when Bill Clinton was first elected.

[…] If Hillary Clinton’s inability to connect generationally is bleeding into a cohort that has an actual living memory of her as first lady, that’s a new ball game and new level of trouble. But Clinton’s second—and far bigger—problem in Michigan was with independents. Clinton won among Democrats, but among independents who chose to vote in the Democratic primary and who constituted 28 percent of the electorate, Sanders took a whopping 70 percent.

The longer Bernie Sanders gets to talk to voters the more they like him, which is how he finally got a break with African American voters in Michigan.

Clinton’s team wasn’t looking at anything beyond March 15 but the prospect is real that after next Tuesday it’s Sanders who will finally see some favorable terrain.

As for the continual auto bailout bullshit from team Clinton, they’re tripling down, while missing wildly. Her team’s negative attacks making her look insecure when she’s still leading him in the delegate math. Last night the attacks hurt her because so many flew wide of the target.

What team Clinton is trying to do is, sadly, the same theory behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Take an event and create a narrative that shades the truth enough to allow your created meme to morph into “proof” that the authentic Bernie Sanders is really a slippery socialist pulling something over on the people.

I know this terrain well because I used to craft this sort of meme to attack opponents of people who wanted to take a Democratic enemy down.

John Podesta talked with Chris Hayes on Wednesday night, who pushed him on the Clinton campaign’s auto bailout claim. It got down to this: Hillary Clinton believes Sanders “should have” voted for the release of the TARP II funds.

A snippet from an article by Matthew Yglesias that is helpful.

The Sanders campaign’s view is that when Sanders had a chance to vote on the auto bailout question, he voted in favor of doing an auto bailout. And he certainly didn’t object to Bush or Obama using TARP funds to do the auto bailout.

The Clinton campaign is hanging its hat on that third vote. By this time, Sanders’s preferred route to an auto bailout had already been foreclosed. TARP funds, instead, were being used for that purpose. Clinton voted in favor of releasing the second half of TARP, which allowed the auto bailout to go forward. Sanders voted against releasing the money, objecting to its main Wall Street function rather than to its secondary auto function. But without the money, the auto bailout that actually happened couldn’t have happened.

David Axelrod is being trolled by Gene Sperling, as well as the entire Clinton team, on Twitter, but he’s standing his ground that this charge against Sanders is a “cheap shot.”

Where both Clinton and Sanders failed last night was on the details over immigration.

…Clinton and Sanders drew a sharp line in the sand on deportation policies, which could haunt them down the road: Both pledged they would not deport children nor undocumented adults without criminal records.

Univision host Jorge Ramos notably pressed Clinton, who in the past took a hard line in calls to deport a surge of migrant children. Asked if her newly compassionate approach toward deportation policies extended toward adults, the former secretary of state appeared to include even immigrants caught entering the U.S. illegally in the past.

“Of the undocumented people living in our country, I do not want to see them deported, I want to see them on a path to citizenship,” Clinton said.

It’s a tough subject but pandering while ignoring what’s possible in today’s climate is just helping Republicans.

It was harrowing if you’re imagining this immigration conversation in the general election.