Sure, the Democrats don’t like President Trump. But during last night’s debate, it was clear that nine of the people on stage didn’t have a lot of love for former Vice President Joe Biden either. While the candidates fired plenty of barbs at each other, watcher say it was clear that everyone was aiming to distinguish themselves in general – and from him. As for policy and actual debate, here’s a rundown:
Biden defended Obamacare while other Democrats pushed variations of "Medicare-for-all" plans. Biden said Obamacare should be restored and improved. He insisted that "Medicare-for-all" proposals are unworkable and would cost far too much.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker criticized Biden's past support of laws that led to mass incarceration for non-violent offenses. He argued that African-Americans were targeted in a disproportionate manner. Biden criticized Booker's record on criminal justice when he was mayor of Newark.
California Senator Kamala Harris repeated her criticism of Biden's past opposition to mandatory busing. Biden returned fire, criticizing Harris' record as attorney general of California.
But Harris also took fire from Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – who took Harris to task for her record as a prosecutor. Among other issues, Gabbard pointed out the hypocrisy of Harris jailing high numbers of offenders convicted of non-violent crimes associated with marijuana…then “laughing” when asked if she’d ever indulged. Harris fought back, but never quite denied Gabbard’s charges.
Harris said the Trump administration's immigration policies are outrageous and children should not be treated like criminals. Colorado Senator Michael Bennet argued that children belong in school and "not in cages."
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called climate change the single greatest threat to humanity. Harris said the nation needs a president who believes in science facts, not science fiction.
In general terms, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro called President Trump a racist…while Booker vowed not to conduct foreign policy on Twitter.
In the end? Biden got the most airtime last night. He was on air for 21-minutes last night – three minutes more than the next candidate, Senator Harris (she enjoyed 17-minutes, 18-seconds), followed by Senator Booker (who tallied 13-minutes, 5-seconds). The candidates getting the least amount of time to share there views were businessman Andrew Yang (about nine-minutes) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (at nine-minutes, 17-seconds). As for why, experts say it’s due to many of the other candidates challenging Biden – which required giving him time for rebuttals.
Photo Credit: Getty Images