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Not many fireworks at first Democratic debate

Posted at 6:28 AM, Oct 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-14 09:28:51-04

The Democratic candidates for president faced off in our own backyard on Oct. 13 at the Wynn on the Las Vegas Strip. And although there weren't as many fireworks as in the Republican debates, there was much more in the way of substance on policy talk.

The biggest takeaway was that Hillary Clinton is the clear front runner in this race. You could see when other candidates were answering questions, cameras stayed on Hillary's face for her reaction. She also got the last word in the closing statements.

But, Martin O'Malley did emerge as a strong contender, especially when he highlighted the differences between this debate and that of the Republicans.

O'Malley highlighted a big underlying push within the Democratic party as a whole to engage young voters, many of whom are directly affected by the issues at stake like immigration policy for dreamers, college affordability, and criminal justice reform for non-violent offenders with drug offenses.

Locally speaking, those issues are important to elected officials such as Congresswoman Dina Titus, a Clinton supporter, who touched on the secretary's promise to make changes that will impact us locally.

And, of course, Clinton's email trouble came up during the debate.

Clinton's trustworthiness has been the biggest elephant in the room for the front runner and it was a given that she would have to face questions about the topic in the first Democratic debate.

It was somewhat surprising that the other candidates did not take the opportunity to highlight their own trustworthiness when the topic was at hand.

In fact, Bernie Sanders said that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about it.

The biggest moment actually came during a discussion about foreign policy and Syria. Other foreign policy talk centered on Sanders' previous stance as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and whether he would be a viable Commander In Chief.

Most of the candidates tiptoed around when, if ever, it's acceptable to authorize use of force, making generation ovations about the need to balance diplomacy with military action.

Titus says that she thought it was interesting that most of the conversation centered around domestic policy instead of foreign.

Other big moments from the debate included pretty concrete proposals from O'Malley, Clinton and Sanders on college affordability and student debt.

You can read a full transcript for the debate by clicking here.