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Analysts: Clinton Commanding in First Democratic Debate

Clinton answers a question while Sanders, left, and O'Malley listen. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tuesday night's Democratic debate showed that 2008 helped Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2015.

The experience the former first lady, senator and secretary of State gained debating Barack Obama in their race then gave her a command of the stage Tuesday her four opponents couldn’t match.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist (though he couldn’t exactly define that when given the chance) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley had their moments, but Democratic strategists and consultants surveyed by CQ Roll Call said Clinton’s biggest win was reassuring donors and activists who might have had doubts about how she would perform.

Jessica Vanden Berg, a Democratic consultant in Iowa who has managed House and Senate campaigns, including Jim Webb's in 2006, said the overall lesson from the debate was: “Do debate prep.”