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Barack Obama Wanted You to Watch the Debate. Hillary Clinton Didn't.

Kevork Djansezian/Stringer

Democrats didn't take the night off when Republicans took the debate stage for the first time in the 2016 presidential campaign. Some were almost gleeful in their anticipation of a circus. But President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton didn't agree on one basic approach. Each sent conflicting messages to the Democratic base: Obama wanted voters to watch the debate; Clinton didn't. 

The Democratic National Committee sent an email blast on Tuesday, signed by Obama, with the subject line, "I'm going to need you for this." The email linked to this page, reminding users when the debate started and how to sign up for debate bingo: 

Clinton's opponents, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, also urged supporters to follow along on Twitter, using #DebateWithBernie and #WWOMD, respectively. 

But the frontrunner's campaign took a different tact. According to a fundraising email sent Thursday evening, she skipped the debate entirely:

What exactly would Clinton be doing on Thursday instead? It's unclear, though a tweet from Kim Kardashian suggested she was about to meet with the candidate.

Clinton skipping the main event didn't apply to her campaign, however, which invited reporters to its headquarters. Their rapid response took an interesting spin, with posters on the walls of the Republican candidates praising Clinton over the course of her political career. Reporters tweeted some examples:

It's only the first Republican debate. Maybe next time Democrats will get their messaging in order.