Which Democrat “won” last night’s presidential town hall?

Pete Buttigieg, Indiana mayor.
Pete Buttigieg, Indiana mayor.
Image: AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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Five of the 19 Democratic candidates for US president appeared in a five-hour CNN town hall last night, taking questions from the audience and moderators about everything from gun safety to student debt to prisoners voting rights.

As US voters sort through the crowded field, expect more group events like this one. There’s no real way to declare a “winner” of the free-wheeling town hall format, in which candidates weren’t systematically asked about the same issues.

But judging from interest shown on Google search, South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg won the night, despite the fact that he had the latest slot, at 11pm.

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Each candidate had one moment that stood out.

Amy Klobuchar’s awkward audience prompt

A US senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar discussed everything from school lunches to student debt, but one awkward moment seemed to stick:

Elizabeth Warren’s call for Trump’s impeachment

Warren, a US senator from Massachusetts, was credited for her clear dissection of some knotty US economic issues. She also gave a full-throated call to impeach US president Donald Trump, saying that there is no “political inconvenience exception to the US Constitution.” The remark earned her praise from undecided voters:

Bernie Sanders’ argument against it

US senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont argued the opposite, saying it was a political mistake:

Kamala Harris’s tough talk on guns

US senator Kamala Harris of California got kudos from gun-safety advocates for pledging to take matters into her own hands as president if Congress didn’t act in her first 100 days to pass laws to curb gun violence in the US:

Pete Buttigieg’s refusal to rise to the bait

Buttigieg, whose website doesn’t (yet) have a policy section, earned the most praise for the question he refused to answer, related to a back-and-forth he had earlier this month with vice president Mike Pence on religion and homosexuality.