Debate day-after: Sanders raises cash, Clinton camp pleased

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Democratic Debate Is a Ratings Success

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders' campaign said it raised nearly $2 million from the first Democratic debate of the 2016 race, and social media metrics showed he was the most-searched candidate on Google and most-discussed on Facebook and Twitter.

SEE MORE:Clinton's debate showing may spell trouble for Biden

Meanwhile, Hillary Rodham Clinton's backers celebrated the day after what some said was the best two hours of her campaign.

"We were over the moon," said former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Clinton backer who'd traveled to Las Vegas to watch the first such confrontation between the 2016 Democratic nomination contenders. On morning cable news programs, Granholm could barely contain her glee. "It was such a great night," she said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

See photos from the debate:

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Democratic Debate Oct 13
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Debate day-after: Sanders raises cash, Clinton camp pleased
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Hillary Rodham Clinton points to a supporter after the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, participates in the first Democratic presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. While tonight's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Josh Haner/Pool via Bloomberg
Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speak during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee take the stage for a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The candidates participated in the party's first presidential debate with Jim Webb and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
** CORRECTS FROM JIM WEBB TO LINCOLN CHAFEE ** Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidate former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb listens during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidate former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidate former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, left, listens as former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, listens as Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton talk before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton waves as she takes the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidates Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee take the stage for a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The five candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton takes the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. On the far left is moderator Anderson Cooper. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Guests including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (4th R) attend a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee takes part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton appear on screens in the press room as journalists cover the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 13, 2015. Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton will finally square off with top rival Bernie Sanders in the party's first debate of the 2016 campaign as she seeks to prove she is the candidate to beat. AFP PHOTO/ FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Both Sanders and Clinton were looking to build Wednesday on their strong Democratic presidential debate performances as the rest of the field struggled to gain traction. The debate commanded by Clinton and Sanders appeared to narrow any opening for a presidential bid by Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic strategists said. Biden watched the Tuesday matchup from Washington.

"I was proud," he said Wednesday during a White House meeting on infrastructure. "I thought every one of those folks last night — my own prejudice — I thought they all did well."

A day after aggressively defending her long public service record and contrasting it with that of Sanders, Clinton remained in Nevada, talking to local media in the early voting state.

Sanders was scheduled to attend a taping of "The Ellen Degeneres Show," which has become a popular stop for presidential hopefuls. The campaign is mapping out a strategy to convert its fundraising and enthusiasm into a winning organization that can compete in the early states and a slate of "Super Tuesday" states on March 1.

In another sign of its maturing operation, the campaign has hired Democratic pollster Ben Tulchin, whose past clients have included former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who ran for president in 2004, former California Gov. Gray Davis and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state.

"This campaign is in it for the long haul. This is not a flash in the pan campaign," said Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver. "We're going to have the resources to go all the way to the convention."

Sanders also delivered the night's most memorable line — a comment that came across as a defense of Clinton, who has faced a summer of bad headlines and an FBI investigation into her practice of exclusively using a personal email address and server while she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama.

"This may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right," Sanders said. "And that is that the American people are sick of hearing about your damn emails."

Clinton laughed and heartily shook his hand as the live audience of mostly Democrats erupted in cheers. By Wednesday morning, Sanders was displaying a clip of the exchange on his Facebook page.

The CNN debate, co-sponsored by Facebook, stretched for more than two hours and had more than 15 million viewers.

See images of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at the debate:

26 PHOTOS
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton duking it out during Democratic debates
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Debate day-after: Sanders raises cash, Clinton camp pleased
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton argues a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Michigan-Flint, Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Flint, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, reatcs during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, left, speaks at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. To the right is Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speak during a break at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during their MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the New Hampshire primaries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, right, speaks to Bernie Sanders during a break at the Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders, left, offers an apology to Hillary Clinton during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders, left, speaks to Hillary Clinton after a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders, left, makes a point as Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, walks by Bernie Sanders during a commercial break at a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2015, file photo, Bernie Sanders makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The Democratic presidential candidates are meeting for their third debate on Dec. 19, with tensions suddenly boiling between Hillary Clinton and her chief rival, Sanders. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley appear before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speak during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, left, and Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, participate in the first Democratic presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. While tonight's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Josh Haner/Pool via Bloomberg
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont,, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton laugh during the CNN Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton shake hands at the end of a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - October 13: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pictured at the 2015 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
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The audience was smaller than the record-setting 24 million who watched the first 2016 Republican debate on Fox News. Yet in a news release, CNN said the debate broke the previous Democratic debate record of 10.7 million viewers when Obama and Clinton squared off on ABC in 2008.

With millions of voters tuned in, the other three candidates on stage searched for a way to break out.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley told CNN on Wednesday his debate performance showed that "more than two candidates" are seeking the nomination.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, meanwhile, faced questions about his viability. In an interview with CNN, he pushed back against the notion that his campaign would be short-lived, saying, "I'm in it for as long as I can continue to raise these issues. They're important."

David Axelrod, an unaligned Democratic strategist who helped mastermind Obama's 2008 campaign, said on Wednesday Clinton emerged stronger with a "very self-assured, powerful performance" that should give Biden pause, while Sanders had a solid performance but fell short of projecting the persona of a nominee.

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Sanders has built an insurgent campaign that draws huge crowds — nearly always bigger than Clinton's — and boasts far more individual donors than the former secretary of state. But he's still introducing himself to voters nationally — a task made obvious Tuesday night as he had to explain his identity as a "democratic socialist."

Clinton, meanwhile, already is widely known to the electorate. She defended her record on foreign affairs, including her 2003 vote to authorize the Iraq War — and issue that Obama successfully hammered her on in their primary battle. Clinton used the discussion to align herself with the president, who remains extremely popular among Democratic voters.

Even Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who inserted himself into the debate coverage with live commentary on Twitter, said Wednesday that he felt Clinton had performed well.

Trump's campaign appeared to have settled on a new target — Sanders — releasing an online ad Wednesday that portrays the Vermont senator as too weak to lead.

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AP Writers Jill Colvin, Josh Lederman and Ken Thomas contributed to this report.

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Barrow reported from Atlanta. Follow the reporters on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP andhttps://twitter.com/bykowicz.

This story has been corrected to show that Sanders' campaign says that he raised more than $1.3 million since the start of the debate, not $4 million.



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