Debate takeaways: Democratic divisions intensify

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listens as former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

From the beginning, Joe Biden knew he would take heat at Wednesday's presidential debate . He was right — but he was not alone.

Posted: Aug 1, 2019 9:24 AM

DETROIT (AP) — From the beginning, Joe Biden knew he would take heat at Wednesday's presidential debate . He was right — but he was not alone.

The evening marked some of the toughest attacks California Sen. Kamala Harris has faced as a candidate. The exchanges were part of a broader ideological fight for the future of the Democratic Party.

Takeaways from the debate:

BIDEN (OBAMA) 2020

Most candidates claimed to be Democrats of the future. Biden found himself defending Democrats of the past.

The former vice president repeatedly found himself defending Barack Obama's policies on immigration and health care when they came under withering attack, a continuation of his near-constant efforts to highlight his service to the first black president.

While his rivals saber-rattled for "Medicare for All," which would scrap Obama's signature health care law, Biden called for a more modest public option that would build on the Affordable Care Act.

When former Obama Housing Secretary Julián Castro criticized the high number of deportations under Obama, Biden retorted that Castro's passion about the issue appeared newfound.

"I never heard him talk about this when he was the secretary," Biden said.

But he also deflected when asked why he didn't do more to stop the deportations, saying it was Obama's call. And that gave Cory Booker an opening.

"You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign," Booker retorted. "You can't do it when it's convenient and then dodge it when it's not."

__

HARRIS UNDER FIRE

Harris' rising profile made her a target for the first time.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet derided her recently released "Medicare for All" plan, which he said was not "honest" and would raise taxes to the middle class "to the tune of $30 trillion." Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard went hard after Harris' record on criminal justice from her time as California's attorney general.

"Sen. Harris says she's proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she'll be a prosecutor president, but I'm deeply concerned about this record," Gabbard said. "Too many examples to cite, but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana."

Harris has shown her deft ability to prosecute a case. But at least at the beginning of the night, she seemed rattled by some of the attacks. She took some of the later hits in stride, reorienting attention back to her criticism of Biden.

__

WILL THERE BE A BOOKER BOUNCE?

Booker needed a good debate to breathe new life into his flagging campaign. He largely succeeded.

The New Jersey senator avoided getting into nitty-gritty policy fights. But he came armed with zingers, talked about big issues and delivered many of the night's most memorable lines — often at Biden's expense.

"Mr. Vice President, there's a saying in my community: You're dipping into the Kool-Aid and ya don't even know the flavor," Booker said to Biden when he criticized his criminal justice record as mayor of Newark.

Booker went after Biden for his role in passing a 1994 crime bill that disproportionately impacted African Americans. He also spoke memorably about voter suppression, race and the Democrats' loss in Michigan to President Donald Trump in 2016.

"We lost the state of Michigan because everyone from Republicans to Russians were targeting the suppression of African American voters — we need to say that," Booker said.

__

HAVING BIDEN'S BACK

Though he faced attacks from multiple candidates, Biden had a vocal ally in Bennet, who at times made the former vice president's arguments more effectively than Biden himself.

The Colorado senator aligned with Biden against Medicare for All, the health care plan that has spurred the biggest divide among the crowded Democratic field. After Biden argued for several minutes with Harris about her health plan, Bennet came to Biden's side, saying "we need to be honest" about the details in Harris' proposal.

Later in the evening, Bennet had Biden's back again, after a back-and-forth about segregation and busing. It was a repeat of the attack Harris launched against Biden during the June debate for not supporting federally ordered busing as a means of desegregation when he was a senator decades ago.

"This is the fourth debate that we have had and the second time that we are debating what people did 50 years ago with busing," Bennet said, noting schools today — including in Detroit — are as segregated as they were then. "We need a conversation about what's happening now."

__

CLIMATE CHANGE SHORTCHANGED?

Even with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on stage, the debate over climate change took a backseat. Inslee has made the issue the heart of his campaign and he cast the issue Wednesday is the starkest terms: "The time is up. Our house is on fire."

As in Tuesday night's debate, health care and immigration were the first topics to get lengthy amounts of time and attention. Candidates were not asked about climate change until an hour and a half had passed. The discussion lasted for about 10 minutes.

While Democratic voters often say climate change is a major issue that 2020 contenders must address, Inslee's attempt to fashion his candidacy around the issue has proven difficult. This may have been Inslee's last chance to use the debate stage as the spotlight. He is among the candidates in jeopardy of not having enough donors or support in polling to qualify for the September debate.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 125531

Reported Deaths: 2299
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32544966
Ramsey13430347
Dakota9321134
Anoka8154148
Stearns544336
Washington530567
Scott320934
Olmsted308929
St. Louis268963
Wright229614
Nobles216416
Clay207343
Blue Earth19717
Carver17077
Rice15819
Kandiyohi15704
Sherburne156621
Mower149113
Winona119918
Lyon9286
Crow Wing91521
Waseca9119
Chisago8792
Benton8575
Beltrami7977
Otter Tail7726
Todd7323
Steele7242
Itasca68417
Nicollet68217
Freeborn6384
Morrison6296
Douglas6123
Martin58916
Le Sueur5855
McLeod5693
Watonwan5684
Goodhue51511
Pine5110
Becker5033
Polk5024
Isanti4953
Chippewa3973
Carlton3861
Dodge3660
Mille Lacs36010
Hubbard3352
Pipestone32816
Wabasha3270
Cass3205
Meeker3113
Rock3011
Brown3003
Yellow Medicine2675
Cottonwood2640
Murray2533
Redwood25011
Fillmore2380
Sibley2383
Renville23011
Faribault2130
Roseau1990
Jackson1981
Wadena1980
Unassigned19553
Swift1921
Kanabec18910
Houston1811
Stevens1681
Lincoln1670
Pennington1651
Koochiching1624
Aitkin1562
Pope1480
Big Stone1280
Wilkin1254
Lac qui Parle1242
Lake1050
Mahnomen971
Norman970
Grant904
Marshall881
Clearwater840
Red Lake592
Traverse530
Lake of the Woods421
Kittson270
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 108620

Reported Deaths: 1562
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18087283
Woodbury685392
Johnson566030
Black Hawk526596
Linn5114127
Dubuque476354
Scott410537
Story387418
Dallas331043
Pottawattamie299844
Sioux230414
Buena Vista220412
Marshall193736
Webster172814
Plymouth154426
Wapello147562
Clinton136926
Muscatine136158
Crawford132112
Cerro Gordo126323
Des Moines12409
Warren11596
Carroll10388
Jasper103034
Henry9865
Marion93510
Tama90737
Lee8819
Wright6951
Delaware6898
Dickinson6877
Boone6819
Mahaska63723
Bremer6239
Washington61111
Harrison5868
Jackson5393
Benton5211
Lyon5177
Louisa49415
Clay4884
Hamilton4513
Winneshiek4479
Winnebago44517
Hardin4315
Poweshiek43011
Kossuth4280
Floyd41811
Jones4133
Buchanan4033
Emmet40214
Cedar3935
Iowa3848
Franklin37518
Guthrie37215
Sac3694
Cherokee3682
Page3620
Clayton3533
Shelby3511
Butler3472
Fayette3462
Madison3442
Cass3402
Mills3391
Allamakee3358
Chickasaw3271
Clarke3163
Humboldt2993
Palo Alto2912
Hancock2864
Grundy2834
Calhoun2724
Howard2519
Osceola2480
Monroe24511
Mitchell2360
Monona2311
Taylor2252
Union2164
Pocahontas2112
Appanoose2063
Jefferson2031
Lucas1896
Fremont1821
Ida1792
Greene1740
Van Buren1622
Davis1584
Montgomery1585
Adair1431
Keokuk1421
Audubon1341
Worth1300
Decatur1290
Wayne1123
Ringgold822
Adams700
Unassigned50
Rochester
Broken Clouds
33° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 26°
Mason City
Few Clouds
38° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 32°
Albert Lea
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 30°
Austin
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 32°
Charles City
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 38°
Tracking more rain before the weekend, then snow returns
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Iowa Lt. Governor speaks to area teen leaders

Image

Share the Warmth coat drive in Rochester

Image

MDH releases initial COVID-19 vaccine plan

Image

KIMT speaks to Rochester School Board candidates

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Wednesday

Image

Art program for those with disabilities

Image

Operating Referendum

Image

Rochester Library pauses reopening

Image

Rural Broadband upgrade

Image

Inmate Voting in the election

Community Events