Dems ready for opening salvo

The Democratic candidates for the Presidency face off for the first time Tuesday night in Las Vegas as the party tries to switch voters’ attention away from the ongoing entertainment that is the Republican primary.

Tonight’s event will be carried live by CNN and moderated by Anderson Cooper. David Axelrod explains what each contender needs to get out of the occasion:

There has been a strange disconnect between Clinton and Democratic voters this year and a sense of resignation, rather than excitement, about her candidacy. This challenge is reflected in the contrast between the large, enthusiastic crowds Sen. Bernie Sanders is drawing with his populist crusade and the more tepid reaction Clinton is generating. (To be fair, the word from the trail is that for all the jitters about the relative size of her crowds, she is connecting well in the small rooms and town hall meetings, which is meaningful in the early states.)

Whatever else you think about him, Sanders is utterly authentic. And right now, that is Clinton’s challenge. It has been exacerbated by her clumsy, ever-evolving approach to the email issue — something certain to come up again in the debate — and her rapid-fire race to the left to co-opt Sanders’ positions on trade, climate change and other issues that fire up the Democratic base.

Clinton’s mission on Tuesday is to rise above the tactical and present a coherent, value-laden vision that will make her flood of policy papers seem like something more than positions of convenience.

There could, meanwhile, still be a third-party candidacy on the left.



The technical report into the causes of the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine will be published on Tuesday by Dutch authorities.








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