After Debates Round 2, Where The Democratic Presidential Race Stands
With Meghna Chakrabarti
We check in on the second night of Democratic presidential debates, with a focus on health care policy.
Jonathan Cohn, senior national correspondent at the Huffington Post who writes about politics and policy with a focus on social welfare. Author of “The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price.” (@CitizenCohn)
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NPR: “Biden Bears Slings And Arrows But Battles Through Another Democratic Debate” — “The second night of the Democratic debates in Detroit did not stray from its predicted script: It was open season on front-runner Joe Biden right from the start.
“But it was also something of a free-for-all, with every candidate for himself or herself. And the intensity and outcome of the exchanges may have come as a surprise to some of the people onstage.
“Unlike the first night, when two featured performers (Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) collaborated against the rest of the field, Wednesday night was an extended crossfire focused on the debaters at center stage.
“Biden, the clear leader in national polls, stood at the epicenter flashing his toothsome, squinting smile as often as he could — while also looking befuddled or lost at times. His shorter answers tended to be crisp, while longer ones wandered or lost focus at times.”
HuffPost: “The Health Care Debate That Wasn’t” — “Health care dominated the first part of Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate, just like on Tuesday, only this time, the conversation was more cacophonous, disjointed and hostile.
“Multiple candidates accused each other of lying, made misleading statements, or ignored criticism of their plans and records. Neither of the two front-runners onstage, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), made particularly coherent arguments for their proposals.
“The contrast with Tuesday night’s confident, clear presentations by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was conspicuous. And while that might be good news for Sanders and Warren, it’s probably not good for Democrats overall ― or for the tens of millions of Americans still struggling with the cost of health care.
“Democratic voters have some important decisions to make about which plan and which candidate can do the most to make health care more affordable. Every proposal now on the table has its pluses and minuses, and the voters need to understand those trade-offs.
“But Wednesday’s spectacle, especially the testy exchanges between Biden and Harris, quite possibly left them more confused than before.”
ABC News: “5 takeaways from the 2nd night of the Democratic debate” — “Even before all the candidates took the stage in Detroit on Wednesday for the second night of the latest Democratic primary debate, the looming conflict at center stage was already apparent.
“‘Go easy on me kid,’ former Vice President Joe Biden said with a smile to California Sen. Kamala Harris, who he sparred with in last month’s debate. Night two also put the diversity of the Democratic Party on display, with all of the candidates of color running for the Democratic presidential nomination taking the stage to pitch themselves as the candidate that can defeat President Donald Trump.
“Both Harris and Biden were targets of constant attacks from rivals across the stage Wednesday night, with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee all taking aim at the two polling frontrunners over their records and their plan to lead the Democrats to victory against President Trump in 2020.
“Booker sharply criticized Biden over criminal justice reform, Inslee hit Biden over his plan to combat climate change, while former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said Biden hadn’t ‘learned the lessons of the past’ on immigration.”
Grace Tatter produced this hour for broadcast.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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