New York Times appraisal- Who won the debate.

Twitter can't tell us whether, or how, Tuesday's debate might change voters' minds. But it can give us the perspectives of some of the people with expertise on primary races: veteran campaign strategists and consultants from both parties.

Here is a sampling of their reactions.

Warren took fire from all sides

The strategists agreed on one thing: Senator Elizabeth Warren's new front-runner status was clear, because she was everyone else's biggest target. But they were divided on how well she handled the attacks.

"Warren took almost everyone's best punch there & came away basically unscathed." — Jesse Lehrich, former foreign policy spokesman for Hillary Clinton
"Heading into this debate as a frontrunner, she did not seem ready for the incoming." — Mo Elleithee, executive director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service and former Democratic National Committee spokesman
"This is the @ewarren debate. You might be happy or sad about it, but she's the one who is setting the tone and she's the reference point for most of the other candidates. That happens to the frontrunner." — Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics

Buttigieg stood out …

Several consultants said Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., had successfully set himself up as an alternative for moderate Democrats uneasy with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. They particularly liked his responses on foreign policy, which he framed in terms of his own experience in the military.

"Very strong, passionate and compelling condemnation of @realDonaldTrump betrayal of Kurds from Northern Syria by @PeteButtigieg. Owning this discussion." — David Axelrod, former chief strategist for Barack Obama
"I am impressed with Buttigieg on foreign policy. Like Biden, he really shines and opens up when he talks about FP." — Jess Morales Rocketto, political director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance
"This has been @PeteButtigieg's best #DemDebate performance so far. While other candidates tried to out-left and anti-Trump each other, Mayor Pete came across as reasonable and rational." — Frank Luntz, Republican consultant and pollster

… and so did Klobuchar

Senator Amy Klobuchar received similarly positive reviews, with strategists arguing that she and Mr. Buttigieg in the middle against Ms. Warren on the left was the biggest dynamic of the night.

"@amyklobuchar performance tonight will resonate with moderate Democrats who are tired of being told that they are sellouts if they don't subscribe to most left views. It's a theme that's cut across all her answers tonight & why she is having a good night." — Jennifer Palmieri, former spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
"With 11 other people on stage, you don't get a lot of opportunities to make an impression. But she's finding them, using each one to stand out and draw a contrast." — Mo Elleithee
"Every time Amy Klobuchar speaks she says something sensible. Not sure that makes her electable, but it's nice to hear." — Joe Lockhart, former spokesman for President Bill Clinton

Sanders was reassuring

After his heart attack two weeks ago, Senator Bernie Sanders badly needed to project strength and stamina, and on the whole, the consensus was that he succeeded.

"What heart attack?! @BernieSanders is giving a strong performance and not missing a step." — Patti Solis Doyle, senior adviser to the 2008 Obama campaign
"Bernie Sanders making a damn important point here — stuff in our county was bad before Trump was elected, and this election has to be about more than defeating Trump." — Sally Kohn, progressive commentator and former campaign strategist
"This was @BernieSanders' best debate by far, but I still don't hear him making a pitch to people who don't already support him." — Laura Belin, Iowa political commentator

Biden had an uneven performance

Mr. Biden won praise for his responses on foreign policy — frequently a strong area for him — but was criticized for seeming to claim credit for Ms. Warren's work establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"Biden needs to have a clear and compelling response to the Trump charge against him and his son, and I assumed he would have prepared one, but his answer is not sharp. When asked 'did you make a mistake?' he snaps back with a much sharper line." — Robert Reich, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and former labor secretary
No one more experienced on foreign policy on this debate stage than @JoeBiden. This is where his experience shines and reminds voters that experience does matter." — Adrienne Elrod, former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton
"Biden yelling 'I GOT you votes' at Warren is not the best look." — Kelly Dittmar, scholar at Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics

Other standout moments. Booker, Harris, Castro

Several other candidates got good reviews for specific answers: Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker on reproductive rights, and the former housing secretary Julián Castro for the statement, "Police violence is also gun violence."

"Such a smart move by @KamalaHarris to refocus the conversation on women's reproductive rights. She listened to women since the last debate and will gain attention and praise for it." — Kelly Dittmar
"@CoryBooker brings a lot to this primary, but perhaps his greatest debate contribution is his continuance to be the moral compass, reminding candidates and the audience what this campaign is really all about: defeating Trump and helping people live better lives." — Adrienne Elrod
"Castro was really strong on police violence there and brought in an angle on seizing guns that other candidates missed." — Seth Masket, political scientist at the University of Denver

The bottom line

"Debate is the first moment in weeks where 2020 breaking through impeachment coverage. First moment to unfreeze race. That's good for @PeteButtigieg who had a great night. And @amyklobuchar, @CoryBooker close runners up." — Jen Psaki, former spokeswoman for President Barack Obama
"The most interesting, dynamic, & defining contrast of the night is between @ewarren on one side, and @PeteButtigieg & @amyklobuchar on the other. All making really interesting substantive and values-driven arguments, and giving voters a real choice." — Mo Elleithee

Maggie Astor is a political reporter based in New York. This is her appraisal of the October 15th Democratic debate.

Voices4America Post Script. This is The NY Times appraisal of last night's #DemDebate. To me, the format fails. If you point the camera and ask questions of mostly 2-3 candidates, they have a better night. Does "winning the debate" with this format uncover who can best beat Trump?

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