WASHINGTON (CNN) - "Black voters are looking for a candidate who is both battle tested and willing to champion their issues," says CNN Political Analyst and Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, who was in the audience at tonight's debate.
When asked if there was urgency in this debate, Brazile said that, in her opinion, "Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich were the only ones who saw how necessary and urgent it is to fix the racial divide in our country. The urgency was totally lacking from some of the other candidates who clearly believe African-American voters can simply wait for a new occupant in the White House."
Brazile said that "this type of debate that focuses on minority issues is a reflection of what happens when the contenders are those who are not just stale, male and pale."
Brazile went on to say that tonight's debate was "another demonstration of the boundaries that this 2008 race breaks. Diversity matters, especially when the topics are education, health care, HIV-AIDS and the criminal justice system."
So who won the debate? Brazile says, "I didn't think that anyone knocked it out of the park. But they spent some time addressing problems facing a large segment of the American electorate"
Brazile says "the candidates are all champions of civil rights, and could have used their own personal stories and battles to better connect with the audience and reach the congregation watching at home."
But she says they didn't.
As to which candidate offered hope, Brazile says, "It's too easy to paint the disastrous picture of race in America, which most of the candidates did." But she said they didn't do much else.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser