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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders emerged from the first Democratic presidential debate secure in their standings, as they led a spirited discussion that didn’t even include Republican rival Donald Trump.
Instead, the pair rose from among a group of five candidates who took on gun control, foreign policy and other issues in the most cordial manner Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the lesser-known White House hopefuls fought for air time as debate watchers instead focused their attention on questions such as: Was Clinton really wearing a national symbol on her blouse? And did she actually make a bathroom joke? Here are some answers to those and other burning questions.
Why did Clinton’s outfit have viewers seeing things?
Perhaps they were imprinting the symbolism, but many on Twitter swore that the Democratic front-runner appeared to be wearing the Washington Monument on her chest.
Actually, Clinton was wearing a dark A-line coat with a rounded collar that was clipped together at the neck. It then opened progressively wider toward the bottom, revealing a white blouse underneath, but in the shape of a very famous obelisk.
Was Joe Biden supposed to be at the debate?
For somebody who hasn't entered the race for the White House, the vice president has been a competitive rival for the Democratic candidates. His poll numbers have been so good, in fact, that he would have qualified for a spot on the debate stage, even with an 11th hour entry.
And debate host CNN would have been ready to welcome him.
Somewhere offstage but nearby was an extra podium CNN had wheeled in the morning before the debate — just in case Biden decided to show up. The network's White House correspondent snapped a picture of it and posted it on Twitter.
While Biden ultimate sat out the debate, a parody Twitter account was created in honor of his lonely, unused podium.
Did Clinton just demand potty parity?
Should Clinton be elected to the White House, she would be the first woman in the office. With that responsibility comes the acknowledgement that there are some things that make women different than men.
When Clinton took longer than the other candidates to return to the stage following a commercial break, she made an apparent reference to where she had just been.
“You know, it does take me a little longer,” she told debate moderator Anderson Cooper.
Where was Bill?
While Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb specifically pointed out their spouses in the audience, Clinton did not. That’s because, as usual, the former president wasn’t anywhere around.
Bill Clinton has tried to keep a low profile in his wife's campaign and has largely stayed away from her political events. He decided to approach the first Democratic debate just like most of the country and watch it on television, from his Las Vegas hotel room.
But the former president left little question who was cheering on and who he believed to be “the most qualified candidate for POTUS.”
Is Lincoln Chafee really a Democrat? And who is he anyway?
Along with O’Malley and Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee has failed to crack 1 percent in most national polls. During Tuesday night’s debate, he also averaged the least amount of air time and was questioned about his political identity crisis.
As Anderson Cooper noted, Chaffee has been “everything but a socialist.” He won election to the U.S. Senate as a Republican from Rhode Island. But then he became an independent when he later ran for governor and won. In 2013, he switched his affiliation to Democrat.
Chafee insisted that his stances on issues have never changed, just his party affiliation.
“You’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues,” he said.