Dems' debate scores for CNN


NEW YORK -- CNN scored with its latest Democratic presidential debate, with Thursday night's telecast the highest-rated so far of the 2008 election cycle.

The telecast averaged 4 million viewers between 8 p.m. and 10:09 p.m. ET, according to Nielsen Media Research. That put it into first place ahead of the previous record-holder, Fox News Channel's Sept. 5 GOP candidates debate that drew 3.2 million viewers.

It also topped other top-performing debates this election cycle, including ABC's Iowa GOP debate Aug. 19 on ABC's "This Week" (2.9 million); CNN's New Hampshire Democratic debate on June 3 (2.8 million) and CNN's You Tube debate on July 23 (2.6 million).

Thursday night's debate, sponsored by CNN, was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It was highlighted by Sen. Hillary Clinton's returning fire against the withering attacks of her opponents. It was a continuation of Oct. 30's Democratic debate in Philadelphia, which 2.5 million viewers tuned in on MSNBC.

It was also the second-highest-rated debate of the cycle in adults 25-54, with 1.1 million compared to Univision's Sept. 9 debate that averaged 2.2 million viewers but 1.2 million viewers in the demo.