Does tonight's debate matter? Normally they don't but I think this one matters a lot. If Hillary does not do well, then the "taste" of the last debate (which was a disaster for her) sticks around. If she is as bad as last time out, then the wheels come off totally. If she is somewhere in between (most likely outcome) then she will continue to lose her lead, but it will still be reversible. We shall see...So, in light of that, what do I think happened? Well, the initial result seemed to be pretty good for Hillary. The crowd was with her, and she managed to avoid any pitfalls in her responses. Also, Wolf Blitzer was a total wimp and asked no hard questions at all, and when handed the chance on a plate to follow up to her replies, failed to do so.
But now it turns out that the deck in Vegas was stacked for Hillary. Given that, it is no wonder she did so well. So, what does this mean? First, the Vegas debate does nothing good for Hillary in terms of overcoming her previous debate performance. Her relatively reasonable performance is meaningless in light of all the help she had. But more importantly, this appears to continue the theme of Hillary - that she never answered a question she didn't plant. The debate was planted, her meetings in Iowa are full of planted questions, and the one time she gets asked a mildly difficult question that wasn't planted, she lost it. This sends the message, if people wish to hear it, that she is not ready for prime time. And the Iowa voters may well hear that message loud and clear. As of now (and there are still 47 days to go) I do not think Hillary will win in Iowa.