Maura Quint’s Presidential Debate Recaps: The One Where Everyone Goes After Biden

2020 DEMOCRATIC
PRIMARY DEBATE, NIGHT TWO
DETROIT
JULY 31, 2019


8:13 PM: Jake Tapper explains the rules and asks that candidates refrain from interrupting. Candidates nod and take notes, sizing up which fellow candidates they’re going to first interrupt.

8:15 PM: In opening statements, the candidates position themselves. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang says he’s the opposite of Trump. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s the opposite of Biden and Harris. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she’s the opposite of a man, and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet said he’s the opposite of a sock. As New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is about to hug each moderator individually, protestors interrupt the debate, chanting something that sounded like “pants of mayo,” which is an issue that probably will not get addressed this evening.

8:27 PM: The debate begins with a question on healthcare. California Senator Kamala Harris and Former Vice President Joe Biden lock eyes, Harris circles him, the lights dim on all but the two of them when suddenly de Blasio pops up in between them and asks what the hell they’re even talking about.

8:30 PM: De Blasio emphatically states that Medicare for All is necessary and asks why the other candidates are fear-mongering about universal healthcare. Bennet says he’s doing no such thing, it’s just important that Americans know that Medicare for All would also potentially improve the health of clowns who live in sewers and demons that try to murder you in your sleep.

8:34 PM: When asked if she supports Medicare for All, Kirsten Gillibrand hesitates then agrees she believes every American should be able to LIVE, LAUGH, and LOVE. In response, Senator Harris lobs a water balloon at Biden. Though it hits him directly on the shoulder, it’s unclear whether he notices. Hawaii Senator Tulsi Gabbard picks up a similar balloon and throws it at Harris, but it only splashes at her feet. Harris, never looking down, seamlessly slips on a pair of dry heels behind her podium. They all agree they’d be better than Trump.

8:37 PM: New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, in response to being asked his position on a public option, pulls out a bag of homemade trail mix and asks if anyone wants a snack because he brought enough for the whole stage.

8:51 PM: Moderator Don Lemon turns the discussion to immigration, asking if decriminalizing border crossings would make it seem the border is open to all. Former Secretary of HUD Julian Castro turns to a whiteboard behind him titled, RIGHTWING TALKING POINTS, writes OPEN BORDERS below it, and then shakes his head disapprovingly at the moderators for 30 seconds.

8:52 PM: Michael Bennet states that immigration is personal to him because his mother is an immigrant who escaped the Nazis, which is why he thinks we shouldn’t let people into this country.

8:54 PM: Gillibrand opens up with a story she heard from her Pilates instructor during a week-long yoga retreat and emphasizes the importance of women and children. Andrew Yang says, “Speaking of immigrants…,” and pulls out a PowerPoint presentation that is slide after slide of the same image: a stack of 1000 one-dollar bills.

8:56 PM: Biden is asked about the fact that more immigrants were deported under Obama than during Trump’s first two years of presidency. Protestors interrupt the debate to reiterate this fact in a more confusing manner. Biden laughs and then says, “Well, Castro was in Obama’s administration too!” Castro pulls out a water balloon and lobs it at Biden. As the water cascades down Biden’s forehead, Castro replies, “One of us has learned the lessons of the past and one hasn’t.” Biden responds by throwing his hands up and making a “would you look at this guy” face to the audience, who tries not to make eye contact in return.

9:04 PM: Tulsi Gabbard is asked if she believes we should give free college to undocumented immigrants. She says no, we need to fix our immigration system and solve student debt. De Blasio replies, “Mhm, that’s nice — ANSWER THE QUESTION ABOUT OBAMA, BIDEN.” Biden responds with, “I don’t kiss and tell.” Booker shrugs, picks up a water balloon, says, “I’m sorry,” and then hurls it at Biden.

9:15 PM: Jake Tapper walks onto the stage with a bucket of water balloons and hands out more to each candidate, then asks about criminal justice. Biden looks around nervously as Booker shrugs again, picks up another balloon and says, alright then, let’s tangle. Biden picks up a water balloon, but fumbles it and it breaks all over his pants.

9:17 PM: Castro turns to Bill de Blasio and says that the officer who killed Eric Garner should be off the street. De Blasio says “it’s Biden’s fault!” Biden says “I’m friends with OBAMA! He liked me and if you don’t like me then that means you hate Obama!” Yang offers him $1000.

9:19 PM: Harris is asked if her record on busing is the same as Biden’s. She says absolutely not. Biden claps his hands and exclaims “Oh boy!” Harris turns to him with an expression of pure disgust. While her back is turned, Tulsi Gabbard rapid fires five water balloons at her shoulder blades, all direct hits.

9:37 PM: The debate now turns to climate change. Inslee says we’ve run out of time. Biden replies, “How long do any of us have to live anyway?” Yang agrees that we are already too late but with $1000 everyone could possibly engineer their own rocketships and maybe do some sort of Interstellar thing, or maybe Martians want $1000 to trade planets or something? Biden laughs and says “I like this Asian fella, anyway coal got us into this mess, and coal can get us out.” Inslee responds by going from podium to podium, taking a water balloon and smashing it in each candidate’s face while calmly stating, “This is the world and this is what your nonsense plans are going to do it.”

9:49 PM: Biden is asked what he says to claims that he’s not progressive enough. Biden replies, “That’s baloney. Next, these whippersnappers will be saying that befriending financial institutions isn’t progressive enough when there’s an insurance company CALLED ‘Progressive.’”

10:05 PM: Tapper turns to Bennet and asks, “In less than 60 seconds and using only words found in Bob Dylan hits, no deep cuts, can you please tell us in detail how you would balance disruptions created by technology with its beneficial impact on our economy?” The candidates all agree they’re better than Trump.

10:32 PM: Closing statements are made:

DE BLASIO: (Holds up a SANDERS/WARREN 2020 sign)

BENNET: “While I am a muppet being operated by a team of puppeteers, I am, still, incredibly lifelike.”

INSLEE: “Vote for me or the world will explode in a fireball by the end of the decade, but no big deal, your call.”

GILLIBRAND: “As your president, I would say to you, ‘Now watch me sip, on chardonnay-nay.’”

GABBARD: “Vote for me or continue to live in a fantasy world of imagined safety, you ridiculous automatons.”

CASTRO: “I should have gotten to be part of last night’s debate instead. Adios.”

YANG: “I think I’ve demonstrated that, like the most boring finance guy cornering you at a party you got suckered into going to, I can make any topic a reference to me having $1000.”

BOOKER: “We need to beat Donald Trump with friendship. As your President, I will know all the cutest animal gifs and I will always text you back.”

HARRIS: “I’m a prosecutor and I promise to put this country’s problems in jail. Except for the problem of jails.”

BIDEN: “I’m wet and I don’t remember what I came up here for, where are my glasses. Do I wear glasses? Like my best friend Obama used to say, ‘Together, we can wear glasses.’”

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