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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders looked like Democrats' de facto leaders and policymakers last night, in the opening half of the party's back-to-back Debate 2.

The state of play: The two progressives dominated the clock. Warren had the most speaking time and Sanders was second, with Pete Buttigieg third.

Both spoke to Democrats who are tired of small ball.

  • Warren: "I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States, just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for."
  • Sanders: "I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas." 

Why it matters ... Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who warned the party this week about moving too far left, told Axios' Mike Allen after the debate:

  • "No one was the happy warrior — a collective shortcoming. We are so angry at Trump, we are letting it get the better of us."

CNN's debate structure — with candidates pressed into abbreviated answers, often in response to a rival — frustrated the more centrist campaigns:

  • All of your policy proposals that you share with people watching are suddenly in the context of someone else's policy plan.
  • That eats away at your talking points for those issues, and for your ownership over your own policies.
  • And it's a big win for the progressive wing of the party.

Buttigieg, 37, drew applause when asked if voters should take age into consideration when picking a president:

I don't care how old you are. I care about your vision. ... Because the only reason we got this president is that normal didn't work. ...
[I]f you are watching this at home and you are a Republican member of Congress, consider the fact that, when the sun sets on your career and they are writing your story — of all the good and bad things you did in your life — the thing you will be remembered for is whether, in this moment, with this president, you found the courage to stand up to him, or you continued to put party over country.

Some other takeaways: Tough night for the moderates ... Beto O'Rourke vanished ... No one mentioned Joe Biden by name.

What's next: The fun continues tonight on CNN at 8 p.m. ET with 10 more candidates.

  • To try to make up for Biden's shortcomings last time, some of his prep sessions (though not exclusively) have been with smaller groups of advisers, with aides asking him what he thinks instead of over-prepping and jamming his head.

Go deeper: 4 big moments from the debate

Go deeper

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, left, and Sen. Chuck Grassle (R-Iowa) look out into the crowd at a "Dole for President" rally at Hy-Vee Foods corporate office in Des Moines on April 13. Photo: J. DAVID AKE/AFP via Getty Images

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record,

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.