Originally published on FoxNews.com.
After a day of impeachment hearings with some devastating developments for President Trump, the fifth Democratic debate opened Wednesday night in Atlanta with everyone seeming a bit more nervous than usual, but then quickly settled into candidates delivering their respective campaign messages.
While many expected the debate to focus attacks on the front runners – including the newly minted member of the club, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg – that didn’t happen.
However, Sen. Kamala Harris of California delivered a prosecutorial dissection of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii that was the attack everyone will remember, after the latter criticized the Democratic Party and Harris brought the receipts that Gabbard was never really a member of it.
Here are the night’s biggest winners and losers:
BIGGEST WINNER: Amy Klobuchar
Overall, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was the winner of the contest than ran over two hours. She had her best performance by emphasizing her experience, productivity, electoral successes. She also emphasized the fact that women are judged by a different standard than men, citing her criticism of Buttigieg’s lack of experience while he was being hailed as a front-runner last week.
Klobuchar pulled it all together in Atlanta with a number of great points and lines — many familiar — but then she delivered the line of the night, “If you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.” Klobuchar isn’t a front runner and this debate won’t make her one. But, the senator will get another look from voters due to it and that puts her in a better position coming out of the debate than going into it.
SURPRISE WINNER: Joe Biden
Former Vice President Biden is a winner by default. Hiding in plain sight might be the best strategy for him. Biden didn’t have the mistake laden performance of past debates by receding for long stretches in the debate. Still holding on to a national lead, that strategy Wednesday night will help him hold on to it for a bit longer. Biden largely relied on his message that he can beat Trump, has the experience, and can bring people together. That might be enough, for now, to keep him in the post position but it’s not going to win the nomination without a better performance in future debates and on the campaign trail.