Biden doesn't let attacks go unchallenged
It’s been more than a decade since Joe Biden participated in a multi-candidate debate of the sort he’s engaged in Thursday night. It’s also been years since the former vice president has had to stand up for his own policies, rather than vouch for someone else’s.
That dynamic was on display Thursday in the Democratic debate as Biden’s presentation of his policies on education, taxes and immigration was not always as crisp as his rivals. Some policy specifics are new, and Biden raced to present them within the one-minute limit.
But the moment of the debate came when Kamala Harris confronted Biden directly, not just about his recent comments about working with segregationist lawmakers, but his past opposition to busing as a young senator.
Compare that to an issue he worked on closely in the White House, which offered him an opportunity to highlight his association with President Obama, and which was deeply personal. Referring to family tragedies he faced, Biden said he "can't fathom” what his family would have done without health insurance.
The fastest way to build it is to build upon Obamacare, he said.
Biden aides had told reporters the former vice president would aim to deflect any attacks by pivoting to his future vision. But Biden did not let the attacks over his civil rights record stand unchallenged, and his defensive answer will linger in voters' minds. The question is whether the Biden campaign is right in its belief that Biden has a credibility with voters that would withstand such attacks, and that those attacks could backfire on those who make them.
Yang and Williamson can relate on their speaking time
Outsider presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson had their first presidential debate stage experience on Thursday night, and both said they're taking lessons into a possible second appearance.
Asked in the post-debate spin room about what they learned in their initial appearance, both expressed a concern about their inability to garner significant speaking time.
"I've got to learn how to get in there," Williamson said. "I gotta learn how to get in there 'cause when you're sidelined like that ... there's so many things I would've loved to talk about, and obviously I was not invited to do so."
Yang, meanwhile, said he "learned that it's easier to get a question if you have been in public life for a long, long time."
Swalwell said he had to go after Biden: 'It's personal to me'
Swalwell told MSNBC's Chris Matthews in the post-debate spin room that he had to go after the front-runner in the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden, because "it's personal to me." He cited his student loan debt, gun violence and a host of other issues that he wants to take on and said it's the next generation's responsibility.
"He was right when he said it's time to pass the torch," Swalwell said of the former vice president.
Bennet: I'm 'glad' Harris confronted Biden over busing
Bennet said Harris going after Biden was a "powerful statement" regarding her comments about being bused to white schools as a young girl. He said she was right to confront Biden over his past opposition to busing. "I'm glad Kamala said what she said," he told MSNBC's Chris Matthews in the spin room.
Watch the highlights and top moments of debate Night Two
From Harris' food fight sound bite to Williamson accusing the government of "collective child abuse," watch the top moments of Night Two of the Democratic presidential debates.
Fact check: Biden claims that under Obama, the U.S. built the biggest wind farm in the world
“In our administration, we built the largest wind farm in the world, the largest solar energy facility in the world,” Biden said Thursday.
The largest wind power site in the U.S. — the Alta Wind Energy Center in California — has an operational capacity of 1,548 megawatts with 586 turbines, according to 2017 data reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It was built during the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president.
But China has a bigger wind farm. The Gansu Wind Farm — also known as the the Jiuquan Wind Power Base — has 7,000 turbines and an operational capacity of at least 6,000 megawatts, according to Forbes, and plans to expand to 20,000 megawatts by 2020, according to The New York Times.
Trump under fire: Candidates unload on president on Night Two
Buttigieg shared practical dream about living without fear
After a question about police accountability, Buttigieg did something uncommon on a debate stage — he admitted he failed. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said he was unsuccessful in reducing tensions between police and black residents because of a wall of distrust that grows each time a resident is treated unfairly or subjected to discrimination.
“I am determined to bring about a day,” Buttigieg said, “when a white person driving a vehicle and a black person driving a vehicle, when they see a police officer approaching, feels the exact same thing … a feeling not of fear but of safety. I am determined to bring that day about.”
Buttigieg has faced both intense criticism and praise for his handling of police shooting of Eric Logan, 54, in South Bend. Logan’s family filed suit against the city and the officer this week.
In a February 2019 poll, 63 percent of white Americans and 84 percent of black Americans told the Pew Research Center black Americans are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with the police. The figures reflect what experts say are both differences in treatment and knowledge of those differences.
Harris continues to go after Biden over his record on race
In the post-debate spin room, Harris told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that she doesn't believe Biden is a racist — but she was quick to add that she found his recent comments about working with segregationist senators hurtful.
"If those men, those segregationists, had had their way, I would not be a member of the U.S. Senate ... so the harm that they did and they attempted to do ... the consequences of their actions were very real," Harris told Matthews.
Biden has come under criticism for touting his ability to forge bonds with other politicians by pointing to his onetime relationships with the segregationist Sens. James Eastland, D-Miss., and Herman Talmadge, D-Ga., early in his Senate career.
In the spin room, Harris again chastised Biden for his record on school integration.
"I would like to hear him acknowledge what was wrong about his perspective on busing," Harris said.
In the 1970s and early ’80s, Biden worked with a Southern bloc of GOP and Democratic senators who barred the use of federal funds to enforce desegregation through busing.
Biden: Harris 'mischaracterized' my position
Fact check: Hickenlooper says Colorado 'created the first methane regulations in the country'
Hickenlooper said that in Colorado, "We are working with the oil and gas industry and we've created the first methane regulations in the country."
This is true.
As governor, Hickenlooper, relying on input from Environmental Defense Fund as well as three oil and gas companies that operate in the state, Noble Energy, Encana and Anadarko, brokered a deal to implement strict new methane emissions regulations as well as new rules requiring the energy industry to locate and fix leaks at their drilling sites.
Those rules — which were in fact the first of their kind in the U.S. at the time — required companies to capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and volatile organic compounds they emitted and also led to the repair of 73,000 methane leaks from 2015 to 2017, according to the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division.
Twitter’s top moments
What resonated on social media? Twitter already has the breakdown the top moments based on #DemDebate — and it’s good for Harris.
Harris and Biden’s exchange on race
Candidates’ first act as president
Harris’ memorable line: "America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table."