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Debate #10

Rich Galen

Wednesday February 26, 2020

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  • The 10th debate of the 2020 Presidential election cycle was held in Charleston, South Carolina last night with CBS being the primary sponsor.

  • The first question went to Sen. Bernie Sanders and had to do with the state of the economy.

  • Sanders turned it on Mike Bloomberg and the rest of the one percenter billionaires.

  • Bloomberg took it, pivoted, and threw it back at Bernie by bringing up the reports that the Russians are helping Bernie's campaign so he can win the nomination and then lose to Donald Trump.

  • Bernie then threw some mud at Pete Buttigieg by talking about his "billionaire donors."

  • Buttigieg parried by interrupting and saying that he was tired of Sanders saying that because "just in Charleston [South Carolina] I have 2,000 donors - that's more money just from Charleston than from all the 'billionaires' Bernie keeps talking about."

  • All that happened in the first ten minutes.

  • The questions in the first segment were all designed to have the candidates get into fights with one another.

  • A question to Elizabeth Warren was "You've said Mayor Bloomberg is the riskiest candidate." Warren was so specific in her answer (back to the NDA issue) it almost seemed like someone had tipped her off to which pitch was coming.

  • Bloomberg appeared to have taken his debate prep more seriously for this debate because he was feistier and more comfortable telling Warren she was wrong.

  • Unfortunately someone had the great idea to have Bloomberg make a lame joke about his performance last week.

  • Crickets.

  • Buttigieg's people obviously watched tape of debates from other years, as he just started talking whenever he wanted to get into the discussion. Warren saw tht Buttigieg was getting away with it, so she just started talking whenever she wanted to.

  • After being essentially silent for the first half hour, Joe Biden finally let fly at Tom Steyer. That leads me to believe that Biden's polling shows Steyer is taking votes from Biden and needs to be slowed or stopped.

  • Later Biden got to make his points against Bernie and gun legislation. Sanders is from Vermont which was the home of major gun manufacturers and voted to protect them.

  • As the second half hour began, Amy Klobuchar let fly with an attack on both Warren and Sanders saying she was the most effective Democrat in the Senate according to a study by Vanderbilt University and then punctuated the point by saying that both Bernie and Elizabeth were in the bottom half.

  • At one point she said she wrote a bill dealing with guns and Biden called her on it saying that he had written it. Later in the debate, she started saying she had written a bill but stopped herself and said she was supporting that legislation.

  • On the question about education, everyone ran to their safe spot. The best answer was by Pete Buttigieg who said "We need to support education by first supporting educators. I know about this because I'm married to one and I hear about it every night." He went on to talk about teachers having to use their own money to buy supplies for their students which embarrasses me every time I hear it and should embarrass everyone.

  • A longish and mostly useless discussion about marijuana took about ten minutes but not a word about opioids, heroin, meth, and the other drugs that are killing people and the communities they are dying in.

  • At just about 80 minutes into the debate the discussion finally turned outward to foreign policy. The first question went to Sen. Warren about reducing combat troops for which she showed a strong understanding.

  • Mayor Bloomberg was asked if he would withdraw all combat troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and he answered easily that he would not do that but would try to the number down to the smallest number that makes sense.

  • The coronavirus discussion followed. Bloomberg had previously called out Donald Trump for hollowing out the CDC and the professionals trained to deal with a pending pandemic. Klobuchar was smart when she said "I'm not going to give out my website right now, but I am going to give out the CDC's website: CDC.gov."

  • Made her sound like a political leader, not a political robot and she got points from me.

  • China was a pretty easy answer for those who chose to answer it; Elizabeth Warren suddenly remembered she hadn't attacked Bloomberg for a while so intractably turned a question about doing business with China into a charge that Bloomberg hasn't released his taxes.

  • Bloomberg said he was within a couple weeks of getting the filings done at which point he would release them.

  • We'll see.

  • The big debate within the debate came about the fourth time Bernie explained why he was willing to forgive Fidel Castro all of his sins because he had instituted a literacy program. Buttigieg and Klobuchar seized on that and made the point that Democrats running for lower office were not going to be successful if they had to explain why the nominee for President was waxing rhapsodic about socialist regimes.

  • The rest of the foreign policy section dealt with Israeli/Palestinian issues, North Korea, Russia and why Trump was a really, really bad negotiator.

  • In terms of who did well and who didn't, Mike Bloomberg clearly took home the comeback player of the night. I thought everyone else held their own pretty well. Tom Steyer was the weakest of the bunch, Amy Klobuchar probably the strongest. Pete Buttigieg was probably next my list for doing well.

  • Bernie was Bernie as Elizabeth was Elizabeth. I would love to know why Warren continues to go after Bloomberg when it is Sanders against whom she is directly competing. If you like either of them, then you were satisfied with their performances.

  • Joe Biden was OK, but just OK. For yet another debate Biden didn't do much to move the needle.

  • The South Carolina primary is on Saturday.

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