After tonight, a Hillary Clinton/ Bernie Sanders ticket in 2016 does not look likely.
Like the most memorable prize fights, the most astonishing flurry of punches often occured in the last few seconds of each round.
Tonight, Hillary Clinton, who had been throwing effective but largely inconsequential left jabs in Bernie Sanders's direction in early rounds unleashed a right hook and left cross toward the end of the debate when she accused Bernie of denigrating President Obama, said Bernie had called the President a disappointment and chastised Senator Sanders for saying Democrats should have buyer's remorse in a blurb for some upcoming book by an un named author.
As he had all night, Bernie counter punched effectively, saying the blurb said nothing about buyer's remorse but said future Presidents had to bring people together. He also gave a passionate attestation to his admiration for President Obama, and expressed gratitude for Mr. Obama's campaigning for him in Vermont, and he slipped a slightly below the belt blow, saying he was the only candidate on the stage who had never run against President Obama. Then he accused Ms. Clinton of punching below the belt.
When Mrs. Clinton attacked Senator Sanders for his vote against immigration reform, he explained he had voted against that specific bill because it would have turned immigrants into slave laborers and the bill was opposed by important Latino organizations. In every instance when Ms. Clinton attacked a specific vote from the Senator from Vermont, he explained why he had voted that way and sounded perfectly consistent and reasonable.
The fact is, Bernie Sanders is more effective in these debates for the same reason Trump has success in front of crowds: He is not burdened by a lot of facts and knowledge and he is free to push on the emotional buttons. When he described visiting the refugee camps in Turkey he evoked real feeling; when Hillary describes the same problems she cannot help but rattling off facts and figures.
Only at the very end, when she was summarizing did Hillary Clinton electrify the crowd by describing Scott Walker as attempting to "rip the heart out of the middle class" in Wisconsin by destroying unions.
Bernie uses history more effectively, describing FDR and even Winston Churchill in evocative, simple terms, with nothing more than the basic facts most school boys know.
He also knows how to resurrect zombie monsters, raising that nasty Henry Kissinger as an example of someone he would not like to be like in an allusion to Hillary Clinton's description of Kissinger as a mentor. She responded she didn't admire Kissinger's role in Vietnam and Cambodia but she admired his role in China, leaving her guard down and allowing Bernie to land a devastating left hook to her chin, as he said, "Oh, yeah, he opened the door to China for the U.S. so China could suck jobs away from us and bring them home to an authoritarian dictatorship."
Hillary really needs to step away from her preparation format for these debates. She is the fox who knows many things; Bernie is the hedgehog who knows only one thing, but he knows it very well.