LAS VEGAS - As Democrats seeking the presidency took the stage in Las Vegas, supporters off stage in the spin room and outside on the Las Vegas Strip were not shy about why their candidate is the best for the party.
Even before the debate started, there was action on the Vegas Strip, as supporters for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied for their candidate.
Clinton booster Richard Munk said the candidate’s foreign policy background is what attracted him.
“She’s got a tremendous amount of experience dealing with the world affairs,” Munk said. “Not just the affairs of the U.S., but world affairs.”
Health care was a top concern for Sanders supporter Deborah Thompson.
“I’ve been a nurse for 30 years. I’ve worked in four different countries,” she said. “I’ve never seen such poor treatment of patients in the U.S.”
Who won? It’s debatable
So who won the debate from the perspective in the spin room? It depends who you ask.
“Oh I clearly think that [Clinton] won this debate,” said U.S. Rep. Judy Chu of California, a Clinton backer. “I think that she came across very strongly on the issues of gun violence, on immigration, on paid family leave, most importantly she would be a woman president."
But liberal political commentator Ed Schultz with the Bernie Sanders campaign disagreed.
“I think Bernie won the debate because of the issues that are being discussed,” Schultz said. “I think that Bernie Sanders has set the agenda for this entire campaign. He’s the one who’s talked about the middle class.”
Yvette Lewis, is the former chair of the Maryland Democratic party, and not surprisingly, supports former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
“When Governor O’Malley held his own on that stage and rose on that stage I think he was the clear winner tonight,” she said.
Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chaffe also took the stage, but Chaffe complained some of the candidates did not get equal time.
“Trying just to get the time just to answer the questions there were so many questions,” he said. “A couple of us just didn’t even get the chance to answer.”
Will Biden run?
One person who was noticeably absent was Vice President Joe Biden, who is still deciding whether he will run for the presidency.
Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with the Democratic National Committee said another candidate will only generate more enthusiasm.
“There’s no way for it to be anything other than a positive.”
Sean Spicer with the Republican National Committee said Tuesday’s debate could push Biden to enter the race.
“I think after tonight Hillary Clinton had a chance tonight to really out-shine the four other folks on stage and she didn’t do it,” he said. “I think if you’re Joe Biden you look at tonight’s performance and it’s just one more reason you jump in the race.”