The Slatest

In CNN Town Hall, Hillary and Bernie Point Out Differences by Sticking to Their Game Plans

Hillary Clinton at the CNN forum at Drake University on Jan. 25, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With the Iowa caucus a week away, on Monday night CNN assembled the Democratic candidates for a town hall before the final push to Feb. 1. The format deliberately avoided open sparring by keeping the candidates separate, each taking the stage individually to respond to questions from a room of generally undecided Democratic voters in Iowa with an assist from CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

The race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has measurably tightened of late, and Iowa is no different. In stark contrast to such Republican events, however, both candidates were largely cordial about the other, refrained from throwing last minute haymakers, and stuck to the strategies that got them to this point, which are remarkably different for a primary race: Bernie Sanders focused all of his rhetorical energy on what he will do, while Hillary Clinton continues to frame the race by what she has done. Martin O’Malley on the other hand just focused on being there—and not screwing up his cabinet chances.  

For his part, Sanders again emphasized his campaign as a potential economic and political revolution in America, fingering income inequality as the great obstacle to be overcome.

Clinton, meanwhile, used the same issue of inequality—refocusing on her experience fighting inequality beyond economic disparity.

Clinton leaned heavily on her resume, as well as a flattering recent interview by Barack Obama with Politico.

Sanders repeatedly tried to make the distinction between experience and judgment.

Bernie Sanders also clarified his controversial comments about Planned Parenthood.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was at the town hall too—looking for a Hail Mary.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the Democratic primary.