Chris Cillizza’s winners and losers from the fifth Democratic debate

Pete Buttigieg: It was as though the other nine candidates were totally unaware that polling released in the last few days showed the South Bend mayor as the front-runner in Iowa and surging in New Hampshire. With the exception of a light jab from Klobuchar, no one really took Buttigieg on — and he notably appeared to get the best of Gabbard in a head-to-head over the military and the role the US should be playing abroad. At one point in the second hour, the moderators teed up Harris to hit Buttigieg on his lack of appeal with black voters. But she said she agreed with him! Buttigieg came across a bit too rote and programmatic for me — at times it felt as though he was reciting a speech he memorized — but his campaign will be thrilled that he walks away from this debate without a scratch on him. Plus, you will hear this line from Buttigieg a whole lot in the analysis of the debate: “I know that from the perspective of Washington, what goes on in my city might look small, but frankly, where we live, the infighting on Capitol Hill is what looks small.”

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