Conservatives online and in media were skeptical that CNN's Anderson Cooper would run the Democratic presidential candidates through tough questioning for Tuesday's debate, but many were probably surprised once it began.

Cooper opened the debate, hosted by his network in Las Vegas, with a twice-followed up question for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton on whether she would "do anything to get elected," referring to several positions she has shifted on.

He pressed Bernie Sanders to defend himself as a Democratic socialist.

And Cooper repeatedly asked Lincoln Chafee, who was a Republican and an independent before becoming a Democrat, to explain why Democratic voters should be convinced that he's a legitimate member of their party.

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