The enduring image of the third Democratic debate was the empty podium between Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley as Hillary Clinton returned late from a bathroom break. “Sorry,” the front-runner said awkwardly as she took her place.
Clinton has emotionally checked out of the Democratic nominating contest before the vote, preferring instead to focus on the Republican presidential field. Donald Trump, the most controversial of those GOP voices, was mentioned 12 times. She claimed at one point that Trump appears in Islamic State recruiting videos, which Politifact rated false.
It showed in a fundraising email her campaign sent following the debate, essentially describing the appearance with her primary opponents as a non-event. “Elections aren’t won or lost based on what I do behind a podium, so it’s okay if you weren’t watching tonight’s debate,” Clinton’s email read.