Critics be damned! The viewers had their say in the Democratic debate Thursday, and they didn't watch. While pundits lauded a feisty debate, only 4.5 million people tuned in to see Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton go toe-to-toe, --or in this case, cane-to-cane -- in New Hampshire.
CNN's media reporter Brian Stelter wondered if the low numbers are due to debate fatigue.
With 4.5 million viewers, it was the lowest-rated debate of the 2016 election cycle by far, according to Nielsen data. The prior low was 7.8 million viewers for ABC's Democratic debate on the Saturday night before Christmas.
MSNBC's debate was a late addition to the lineup, originally announced just over a week ago and not officially sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee until this week. But the channel heavily promoted the debate on Wednesday and Thursday.
The debate was the first to feature just Sanders and Clinton after also-ran Martin O'Malley dropped out.
The event was promoted appropriately on Drudge on Thursday as "Seniors Night Out." Hillary Clinton is 68 years of age while Bernie Sanders is 74. The average age of presidents at the time they are inaugurated is 54 years of age. If Clinton were to win the White House she would be the second oldest to hold the office just behind Ronald Reagan, Sanders would eclipse Reagan by almost six years; he will be 75 before voting day.