Democrat Howard Dean and Republican Chris Christie both think Kamala Harris won the debate, Biden survived

Chris Christie and Howard Dean recap the debates
(Image credit: Screenshots/YouTube/The Tonight Show, The Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), both former presidential candidates, assessed Thursday night's Democratic debate on live late-night TV. And they largely agreed on who won.

Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) "proved she deserves to be on the stage tonight, for sure," Christie told The Late Show's Stephen Colbert. "First debates are about proving who belongs and who doesn't. ... And Harris tonight proved what I've known all along: Prosecutors know how to do that. ... They know how to ask a question, they know how to deliver a punch, they know how to do it with a smile on their face, and they know how to look righteous when they're doing it. And she did all that tonight."

Harris "laid some real punches" on frontrunner Joe Biden, Christie added, "although I thought his best moments in the debate was when he was going back and forth with her because he was a little more himself." Overall, "it was a tough night for Biden, but he has room to be able to have a tough night, so I think he's okay," he added. Christie said it's time to say goodbye to Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and NBC's Chuck Todd, "the most pretentious know-it-all on network news."

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Dean told The Daily Show's Trevor Noah "it was a damn good debate," and "I think Kamala did great. I think, actually, Biden did pretty well defending himself." And he said it's too soon to start winnowing the field, though he did warn his fellow Democrats about "whacking Trump" in debates. "Trump will do that to himself," he said. "If we're talking about Trump three weeks before the election, we lose. Trump will remind us every day that we don't like him. We need to talk about the stuff they were talking about tonight."

Looking ahead to the 2020 general election debates, Christie said Harris and Biden would be a good match for Trump, and as for Trump, "the biggest weakness he has is, you know, swinging at every pitch." Watch below. Peter Weber

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