The candidates have been debating for about an hour and a half now, and there have so far been no questions on the climate crisis. This hasn’t gone unnoticed:
Kamala Harris seems determined to direct all of her criticism toward Trump after confronting Joe Biden in the first debate.
Directly asked how her trade policy would differ from Barack Obama’s, Harris instead immediately pivoted to saying how her policy would be different from Trump, criticizing him for navigating a trade war over Twitter.
She then referenced “The Wizard of Oz.” “You know, when you pull back the curtain, it’s a really small dude?” Harris said.
Host George Stephanopoulos, who is about 5’5”, replied in a deadpan manner, “Okay. I’m not going to take the bait.”
The candidates are being asked about tariffs and whether they would repeal them on day one of their administrations. Andrew Yang said he wouldn’t.
Pete Buttigieg took the opportunity to criticize Trump for fumbling at a crucial moment for “American leadership.” He referenced the president skipping a climate session at the G-7 summit.
Asked again about Trump’s trade policy, Buttigieg said he would use the tariffs as leverage as part of his broader strategy. (So that seems like a “no” on the day one question.)
Here’s where things stand at halftime:
- Candidates are directing more of their criticisms toward Trump and away from Barack Obama. Joe Biden had complained after the second debate that some of his opponents were disparaging the former president’s robust legacy.
- Beto O’Rourke attracted a lot of applause for discussing his gun policies after the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso.
- Julián Castro has repeatedly attacked Biden, a potentially risky gamble for a lower-polling candidate.
The debate has just returned from its commercial break, so here we go again.
The debate has reached its first commercial break, much to the relief of your blogger. About an hour and a half down, an hour and a half to go.
Julián Castro’s repeated attacks on Joe Biden are definitely attracting the attention of political reporters, but it’s very difficult to say whether the gamble will pay off.
Julián Castro is striking a notably different tone on Barack Obama’s legacy this time around.
During the second debate, Castro, who served as Obama’s housing and urban development secretary, argued the former president had fallen short on immigration.
But tonight, Castro began his answer on immigration by emphasizing that Obama was nothing like Trump on the issue. Castro went on to argue that he was continuing the true legacy of Obama.
Biden grilled on immigration record
Moderator Jorge Ramos asked Joe Biden about the high number of deportations under the Obama administration. “Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake on deportations?” Ramos asked. “Why should Latinos trust you?”
Biden initially deflected, arguing that Obama is nothing like Trump on immigration — citing the heart-wrenching images of migrant children being held in apparent cages.
When pressed by Ramos to answer the initial question, Biden said. “The president did the best thing that was able to be done.” Ramos asked, “What about you?” Biden simply replied, “I’m the vice president of the United States.” (Well, he was, but you get the idea.)
Elizabeth Warren is calling for the end of the Senate filibuster to enact gun-control legislation.
If the filibuster was done away with, it would only take 50 Senate votes to pass a bill; legislation can currently be blocked if it attracts less than 60 votes.
Bernie Sanders said he would not end the filibuster but argued there were other legislative means to pass major legislation on issues like gun control and climate change.
O’Rourke did not shy away from saying he would require citizens to turn in their military-style weapons, despite Republicans’ frequent accusations that Democrats are coming to take Americans’ guns.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AK-47,” O’Rourke said in one of the biggest lines of the night so far.
O’Rourke receives major applause for discussing gun control
The moderators specifically turned to Beto O’Rourke to answer a question on gun policy, given that his hometown just suffered a mass shooting.
Discussing his policy for a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons, the former congressman received some of the biggest applause of the night.
Harris: Trump has been ‘tweeting out the ammunition’
Kamala Harris took a question on gun control and also applauded Beto O’Rourke for his attention to El Paso after the mass shooting there.
The California senator then implicated Trump in the white nationalist shooting, saying that the president may not have pulled the trigger but has been “tweeting out the ammunition.”