If you had any question about former Secretary Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign game plans leading up to next week's New Hampshire Democratic primary, it's probably a good bet to pay attention to what the candidates said to MSNBC debate moderators Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow during the commercial break while the cameras were off. That's a joke, of course, but it's not far off — because if nothing else, this one Democratic debate tweet from Arianna Huffington perfectly described each candidate's attack strategy for the remainder of the primary battle.
Sanders has been scoring points off of bringing up the mind-boggling reported $675,000 Clinton received in speaking fees from Wall Street's Goldman Sachs bank in recent days, drawing criticism from voters who are screaming for their elected officials to start paying attention to the struggling middle class instead of focusing on helping the big banks that continue to rake in obscene amounts of money. The mere suggestion of that point, in fact, drew the angriest response from Clinton during tonight's exchange.
In contrast, Clinton, with her experience as Secretary of State, was keen to draw Sanders into the foreign policy weeds to show off how much better qualified she is to deal with the threat of ISIS and other pressing issues coming from outside the US.
In case anyone wondered whether either candidate had any intention of changing their course of attack, they certainly don't seem like it after tonight's vicious primary debate.
Toward the end of Thursday's big debate, media maven and political insider Arianna Huffington posted a single, important tweet that essentially boiled down the debate and showcased to anyone tuning in the only thing they need to know about where the candidates' focus would likely be in the coming days. ".@BernieSanders to moderators during break: Let’s go back to Wall St.," she joked. "@HillaryClinton: Let’s go back to foreign policy."
It was a simple enough tweet, but spoke volumes. Both candidates at this point aren't doing themselves any favors belittling one another's differences. Instead, focusing on issues where their opponent is weakest will likely be the key to success in the primary race.
And hey — you've got to love it when politicians drop their earnest TV personas to try and get any edge possible by pulling out their "greatest hits". For Sanders that's unquestionably financial reform and the middle class. And for Clinton that's her hefty foreign affairs resume. You sure can't blame either one for not trying.