My take on tonight’s 10, in roughly descending order of performance:

1 – Elizabeth Warren — met the high expectations of tonight’s front runner. Great on gun control, green energy, healthcare and spreading the wealth. “We can do this!”

2 – Cory Booker — articulate, passionate and spontaneous. The surprise of the night. “We cannot suspend our values and think that will get us border security.”

3 – Amy Klobuchar — genuine, appealingly moderate, articulate on Big Pharma. Best line of the night: “I don’t think we should address foreign policy in our bathrobe at 5 in the morning.” Also, “Immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America.”

4 – Julian Castro — surprisingly impressive (to me), especially on immigration and equal rights.

5 – Jay Inslee — able to put forward the best track record and did a great job of telling it like it is. The biggest threat to the US? Donald Trump. Sadly, he doesn’t win the charisma contest, which shouldn’t be important but is.

6 – Bill de Blasio — strong on immigration’s importance to US economy and culture and identifying Russia as greatest threat to democracy. Especially liked his message that immigrants are not responsible for workers not getting their share of the pie, the 1% are.

7 – Tim Ryan — on the correct side of most issues but didn’t stand out, and his defense of US involvement in foreign wars hit a nerve.

8, 9, and 10 a race for the bottom. I thought Beto O’Rourke fell flat, spouting memorized lines and failed to answer most questions. John Delaney just didn’t stand out in any way, and Tulsi Gabbard had little to contribute other than her military experience.

Carol J. Williams is a retired foreign correspondent (Los Angeles Times & Associated Press)


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