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Biden Falters in Democratic Debate
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=7922"><span class="small">Niall Stanage, The Hill</span></a>   
Friday, 28 June 2019 08:37

Stanage writes: "Front-runner Joe Biden faltered in the Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday evening, suffering some damage at the hands of rivals while also stumbling of his own accord."

Senator Kamala Harris, right, and Joseph R. Biden Jr., left, clashed during the second night of the Democratic presidential debate in Miami on Thursday. (photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Senator Kamala Harris, right, and Joseph R. Biden Jr., left, clashed during the second night of the Democratic presidential debate in Miami on Thursday. (photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Biden Falters in Democratic Debate

By Niall Stanage, The Hill

28 June 19


ront-runner Joe Biden faltered in the Democratic presidential primary debate here Thursday evening, suffering some damage at the hands of rivals while also stumbling of his own accord. 

The former vice president hit particularly rocky ground when he was confronted by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on his recent warm words for two Southern segregationists of a previous era, the late Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.).

Harris also highlighted Biden’s past opposition to school busing.

That exchange was the emotional high point to the two-hour debate, as Harris noted that she herself had been a beneficiary of busing as a child. She called Biden’s comments on the segregationist senators “hurtful.”

Biden defended himself on a finer point, saying he opposed busing by the Department of Education, believing instead that the issue should be decided at a local level.

But the exchange was not a good one for the former vice president — not least because of the visual dynamics of a 76-year-old white man appearing to lecture a black woman 22 years his junior.

But that was not Biden’s only problem.

At one point, he said the National Rifle Association was “not the enemy” — a bad choice of words for a Democratic primary electorate, even in the service of his broader argument that gun manufacturers were the main obstructors of new laws.

He also defended his vote to give then-President George W. Bush the power to go to war in Iraq, arguing that Bush had abused that power. 

On Iraq, Biden was left vulnerable to the inevitable attack from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who took the opportunity to remind voters that, in contrast to Biden, he had “led the opposition to that war, which was a total disaster.”

Biden was always destined to be the central figure in Thursday’s debate. He is the clear leader in opinion polls. In the current RealClearPolitics national average, he commands the support of 32 percent of Democrats, almost twice as many as his closest rival, Sanders.

But skeptics have long doubted the depth and durability of his support, especially in a party where the energy seems to be on the left.

Biden was not dominant at any point, though he spent much of the debate trying to placate progressives who will be vital in the primary.

He insisted that, if elected, he would repeal the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cut, rejoin the Paris climate accord, make college more affordable and support expanded health care, for which undocumented immigrants would also be eligible.

Overall, however, his uneven performance likely did him more harm than good, especially given the high expectations that attend any front-runner. 

The second night of debates here was always likely to be more fiery than Wednesday given that four of the five top-polling candidates — Biden, Harris, Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — were on stage.

The other member of the top five, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), performed strongly in Wednesday night’s debate.

On Thursday, Harris was the notable standout. Summoning her experience as a former prosecutor, she delivered crisp and powerful answers, particularly on issues like health care.

Harris also scored early amid some rambunctious exchanges.

Breaking through a squabble between Sanders, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), she reprimanded her rivals that Americans were less interested in a “food fight” than on how they were going to keep “food on the table.”

Harris also found an artful way to hit Biden for his support of large-scale deportations during the Obama administration.

“On this issue, I disagreed with my president,” she said — simultaneously highlighting her dissent, implying an underlying loyalty to Obama and taking a subtle jab at Biden.

Sanders, for his part, laid out the central rationale for his candidacy repeatedly and energetically. He argued that he was the candidate who could bring “real change” to the American political system. 

The Vermont Independent was also the first to hit President Trump hard, branding the president “a phony and a pathological liar and a racist.” 

If Sanders did not carve out any one outstanding moment, he at least reminded the voters who rallied behind him in 2016 why they did so — and perhaps helped himself hold off the rising challenge from Warren for progressive support.

Buttigieg, the final member of the top five, showed his formidable communication skills on issues ranging from gun violence to immigration. On the latter, he segued into a criticism of Republicans who advertise their religiosity on other topics.

It was absurd, he contended, to pretend that “God would smile at the division of families at the hands of federal agents.”

Buttigieg also appeared penitent about race relations in his home city, which have been particularly contentious in the wake of the fatal shooting of a black man, Eric Logan, by a white police officer. 

“It’s a mess, and we’re hurting,” he said.

The debate overall was much more boisterous than the previous night’s event, with the moderators often struggling to keep control.

The cross-talk and fractiousness made for more compelling television, though it remains to be seen whether the candidates who were most determined to insert themselves into as many exchanges as possible — notably Swalwell and Gillibrand— helped or hurt themselves in the process.

They, and the other lower-polling candidates, did not break through the aural clutter on Thursday, in contrast to former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who shone the previous night.

Thursday was all about the top figures in the field.

And it’s Biden who looks more vulnerable than ever before, having failed to pass his first big test.

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+3 # Robbee 2019-06-28 09:49
last nite biden drew the short straw!

he got lined-up on the same stage with kamala!

as robbee recalls commenting -

“Kamala Harris Announces Plan to Fine Companies That Pay Men More Than Women
By Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
20 May 19

“it's against my religion to play bookie or dump on a candidate outstanding in her own right, but -

“i believe kamala would make a fine veep for bernie!

“i also believe kamala will be biden's kryptonite!, biden's waterloo!”

pop quiz! -

if biden's base is mainly black and brown? and if kampala pirates biden's base? - then who is left? and how can biden win a primary?
+6 # apotem 2019-06-28 12:43
Joe, pass the torch and exit quietly, please
+4 # 2019-06-28 13:40
Biden's explanation that he did not oppose busing for school integration, just federally-order ed busing, is neither true nor smart. Untrue, as shown by the quotes of what he actually said back then. But Biden's claim that he was all in favor of locally ordered busing is ludicrous, because it was local governments, i.e., boards of education and city councils, county boards and state legislatures and governors, in the South and even in many other parts of the USA that were the chief holdouts against school integration. Had the federal government stayed out of the school integration effort, the effort would have made even less progress than the little it has yet shown. Biden's response thus prompts the question whether he is sharp enough for the office he seeks.
+6 # tsyganka 2019-06-28 14:40
Do homework on cruel, dishonest, windsock Harris, who changes her opinions Every time she runs for office.
1) Did not prosecute Mnuchin's bank OneWest in 2013; in 2016, she was the only Senate Dem candidate to get cash from Mnuchin.
2) In 2015, defended illegally obtained convictions from prosecutors who had used a false confession, committed perjury, and withheld evidence.
3) An Israel-firster, opposes BDS movement.
4) Defended 3-strikes law that imposes life sentences for any minor felony.
5) Criminalized truancy; fined impoverished parents up to $1,000, imprisoned them up to a year for their children's actions. Try being hired after getting a criminal record.
6) Was hideously cruel in Daniel Larsen's case; long story, look it up.
7) 'Opposed' war on drugs but took No action on drug reform as AG; refused to help take marijuana off Schedule I. Now, when running for office, she says she supports removal.
8) 'Wants' law and order, but Refused to hand over names of cops whose false testimonies had led to wrongful convictions.
...continued in my next comment...
+5 # tsyganka 2019-06-28 14:42
Homework on cruel, dishonest Harris, continued:
9) Opposed body cams.
10) Opposed a bill requiring investigation of fatal shootings by cops.
11) Lied about solitary confinement in CA prisons.
12) Opposed releasing inmates early (despite SCOTUS ruling), as prisoners were "an important source of labor" (such as firefighting, for only $1/hour).
13) "Proud" to be endorsed by Hastings (D, FL), accused of sexual harassment ($220,000 settlement) and bribe-taking and who employs a convicted money launderer.
14) Also endorsed by Green (D, TX), who was made Texas co-chairman of her campaign and has also been accused of sexual harassment by a staffer.
15) Has known her aide Larry Wallace for 14 years but claimed to know nothing of sexual harassment accusations even after the $400,000 settlement was made public.
-1 # MikeAF48 2019-06-28 15:24
The 60's was a different time in history a different place. We all learn as we go so lighten up and chill out.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-28 16:55
I think this author is misreading what happened. He is reading it the way the mainstream wants to spin it; that is, Kamala Harris triumphed over Biden and now she should move into the top tier as Biden descends and eventually drops out. The major media darlings -- Beto, Buttajig, and Biden -- are all proving to be duds, so now the major media will try to launch Harris in the "anyone but Bernie" campaign being waged by the major media.

But what most people really saw on Harris was the very ugly angry black woman syndrome. They don't what that as president. At one point, Harris said "voters don't want to see a food fight," while it was she who was throwing nearly all of the food. She also played the victim -- the little girl trudging through the snow to take the bus all the way cross town to the white school was me. In reality, she grew up with very successful upper middle class parents who already lived in the white area of Berkeley.

For Harris, it was all about herself. That's pretty much all she talked about.

Biden sounded like the democrats of the past -- Hillary, Obama, Hoyer, Pelosi, Schumer, and many more. That's where he belongs. He'll be gone soon.

Only Sanders had a vision for the future. He was brilliant in this debate. The NBC moderators tried to trip him up and his colleagues also, but he was rock solid and knew what really needed to happen. His closing remarks on the M-I-C were right. Harris is a bully. Sanders is a statesman.
0 # librarian1984 2019-06-29 04:55
Agreed, and well said. This is the scenario the donors are using the msm to play out, with Harris emerging as their chosen nominee.

Also thanks to tsyganka for the research.
+2 # DongiC 2019-06-29 12:23
I agree with RR. Biden is an echo from the past, Harris a street fighter and quite full of herself. Sanders was the only inspiring candidate. I can see why the power-elite are afraid of him. He means to bring significant change.