CNN’s Democratic Debate, Night Two: A Closer Look

-Tonight was the second night
of the second round of Democratic
presidential debates. For more on this,
it’s time for “A Closer Look.” ♪♪ Of course, everyone’s
watching these debates to see who will emerge
as the leading contenders, and that apparently includes
Donald Trump, who said last night
during an interview on C-SPAN that he’d be watching
the debates and offered this hot take. -I’ll be watching
the debates tonight. You know, if I didn’t,
you’d say, “I can’t imagine.” You know, I would like to know who I’m going to be
running against. Maybe you’ll tell me
after this interview, right? -You tell me.
-I don’t know. I mean, I would think
the four or five top ones would seem to have a big edge. You have some people that
shouldn’t even be wasting time, but I would think
the four or five top ones would be the ones
that would be, you know, certainly have the best chance
of getting in. -Oh. Is that your expert analysis? That the top four or five
candidates have the best chance? It’s like a commentator at
halftime during the NBA Finals going, “I think it’s either
going to be the Raptors or the Warriors, Ernie. Unless a third outside team
sneaks in there.” Of course, the dynamic
at the first night’s debate ended up being mostly Elizabeth
Warren and Bernie Sanders fending off a bunch of underdog
moderates taking shots at them like former Congressman
and soon-to-be former president candidate
John Delaney. By the end of the night,
he looked like the guy who comes in third
on “Jeopardy!” Even when Warren and Sanders
weren’t talking, they were winning.
Bernie’s strategy, of course, involved a lot of arm throwing
and finger wagging like he was reaching to turn off
an imaginary light switch. And at one point,
when Elizabeth Warren’s plan for a wealth tax came up,
she literally smiled and rubbed her hands together
in glee. Look at how excited she is
to tear this guy apart. It’s like in Looney Tunes
when you’re starving and you see a giant turkey leg. [ Laughter ] We spent the most part
of our day figuring out
how that would look. Nonetheless, the underdogs
have been desperate to spin their debate performances
last night. For example, there was this
moment when Congressman Tim Ryan thought he scored a point on
Bernie during a feisty exchange on the climate crisis. -What do you do with an industry
that knowingly, for billions of dollars
in short-term profits, is destroying this planet? I say that is criminal activity. That cannot be allowed
to continue. -Thank you, Senator Sanders.
Congressman, your response. -Well, yeah, I would —
I would just say — I didn’t say we couldn’t
get there will 2040, Bernie. You don’t have to yell. -Uh, I’m sorry,. Have you met Bernie Sanders? Of course, he has to yell. Yelling is his brand. He read bedtime stories
to his kids, and they didn’t sleep
until they were 35. But Ryan thought
that was such a killer line that today he kind of turned it
into a campaign slogan of sorts by selling stickers
on his website that say “You don’t have to yell.” And while I understand
the gist of his point, I’m not sure about the timing.
I mean, if there was ever a time to yell in American politics,
it’s now. That would be like the captain
of the “Titanic” putting up a “no swimming” sign
after hitting the iceberg. Both the moderates
and the moderators tried to take shots
at Bernie and Warren
over Medicare for All. Pundits seemed obsessed
with getting them to say that they would raise taxes,
even though the reality is that healthcare costs
would be much lower, which is how it works in a bunch
of major industrialized nations. And that led to this combative
post-debate interview last night in which Warren deftly battled
with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. -They won’t have any more money.
When you’re paying… You guys dodged that tonight. -No, no, it’s not a dodge.
It’s about where — -‘Cause Jake Tapper kept saying, “How much are your taxes
going to go up?” And you’d say — You’d say — -How much are your costs
going to go down? -No, no. Different question.
How much will your taxes go up? -No, it’s how much
of your costs. It’s how much families
end up saving. -I know that argument.
-It’s not just an argument. -But you’re covering it.
But will you pay more in taxes? Why don’t you want to answer
that question? -Because it’s a question —
-Because Jake said tonight that’s a Republican
talking point. It’s not a Republican talking
point. It’s a question. -It’s a question about where people are going to come out
economically. The question is not
do you have health insurance or not have health insurance. The question is, how much
are you going to have to dig in your pocket to pay? -I know that’s the answer
that you like to give, but — -No. It is the answer. -When Elizabeth Warren says,
“No, it is the answer,” then that’s the answer. She was a Harvard professor. You’re trying to school her
on healthcare. I didn’t know
that the “MS” in “MSNBC” stood for “mansplain.” [ Cheers and applause ] She had to fend off Matthews like Chris Pratt fending off
a velociraptor. Then in another
post-debate interview, CNN tried to get Warren to take
a shot at former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently
leading in the polls, but she firmly batted it down. -For people who are trying
to choose between you and former Vice President Biden,
why are you a better candidate? -Well, I’m not here to dis
any other Democrat. Just get somebody else
for that job. That’s not me. -Wow. You know you asked
a bad question when you found the one job Elizabeth Warren
won’t do. That was like when you ask the
waiter for bread, and he goes, “This is not my section.” It’s certainly the case
that, according to the polls, Biden was the front-runner
coming in, and all eyes seemed to be on him
and Senator Kamala Harris. Everyone was asking, would
we see Harris destroy a man live on national TV again? Would Biden try
to fend off questions by flashing those big ol’
pearly whites again? And would New York City mayor
Bill de Blasio be there to yell over everyone
like a guy trying to hail a cab in a rainstorm? “Hey! Hey! Over here!
Hey! I was here first!” “Okay. Dang.
You don’t have to yell.” [ Laughter ] And even before… [ Applause ] Even before tonight’s
debate started, things got a little weird
when the chair of the Democratic National
Committee, Tom Perez, tried to fire up the crowd and call out Senate Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell for blocking bills that
Democrats passed in the House, and he used a version
of a nursery rhyme. -Old McConnell had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm,
he kept all those bills that passed the House. E-I-E-I-O. [ Laughter ] -I think I speak for everyone
when I say… E-I-E-I-No. [ Cheers and applause ] That was the worst… That was the worst
Weird Al cover ever! You can’t beat Mitch McConnell
with nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes power him, like
the villain in a horror movie. Whenever he speaks
on the floor of the Senate, you can hear children creepily
singing in the background. -♪ Down came the rain
and washed the spider out ♪ [ Laughter ] -Perez also spoke about the fact
that he once had a job working on a garbage truck
to take a shot at Trump. -I worked on the back
of a trash truck, so I know garbage when I see it! And, folks, this administration
is a dumpster fire! [ Cheers and applause ] -It’s true, but I would say Trump is less like
a dumpster fire and more like the guy who sets
the dumpster on fire for the insurance money. Boom. Dumpster’s gone.
Now we collect. And then once again,
just as they did last night, CNN introduced all
the candidates individually, and, once again,
the lesser-known candidates polling in single digits
had to follow the more popular candidates who
got much bigger crowd reactions. -Former Vice President
Joe Biden. [ Loud cheers and applause ] Senator Kamala Harris. [ Loud cheers and applause ] Mayor Bill de Blasio. [ Subdued applause ] -Man, it’s tough for de Blasio
to have to follow those two. It’s like
if you were at Comic-Con and they introduced
Iron Man, Captain America, and then Ben Affleck’s
Daredevil. [ Laughter ] And once they got out there with
all eyes on Harris and Biden, Biden was caught on a mic
trying that ol’ Joe Biden charm to preempt the confrontation. -Hey, Joe.
-Go easy on me, kid. -Hey, man,
if you don’t want to seem old, maybe don’t talk like you’re
in a Humphrey Bogart movie. “Go easy on me, kid.
We’ll always have Detroit.” [ Laughs ] Saved my Humphrey Bogart
impression for the live show. [ Laughter ] [ Cheers and applause ] “Say, say!” Next, you’re going to
start telling people you’re 76 years young. Right off the bat,
CNN was desperately interested both in framing
the issue of healthcare from a right-wing perspective
and also of getting Harris and Biden to go after
each other on that issue. -This week, you released
a new healthcare plan which would preserve
private insurance and take 10 years to phase in. Vice President Biden’s campaign
calls your plan “A have it
every which way approach,” and says it’s just part
of a confusing pattern of equivocating about
your healthcare stance. What do you say to that? -Well, they’re probably confused
because they’ve not read it. -Vice President Biden,
your response. -Well, my response is that the Senator’s
had several plans so far. You can’t beat President Trump
with double talk on this plan. -Your response, Senator Harris?
-Absolutely. Unfortunately,
Vice President Biden, you’re just simply inaccurate
in what you’re describing. -Senator Harris, thank you.
Vice President, your response. -The plan, no matter how you cut
it, costs $3 trillion. -CNN was so desperate
to get them to fight, they were like Romans
at the Colosseum. “Healthcare plans,
he says yours is foolish. You say his is cruel.
Now fight for our pleasure.” [ Laughter, cheers, applause ] It seemed like every question
was framed as an attack from someone else onstage. In fact, at one point,
Cory Booker pointed out the boxing-match
nature of the questions by bringing up Donald Trump. -Well, first of all, let me
just say that the person that’s enjoying
this debate most right now is Donald Trump as we pit
Democrats against each other while he is working right now to
take away Americans’ healthcare. -Trump might be enjoying
the fighting, but there’s no way he’s enjoying all this
specific policy details. Trump watches policy debates
the way the rest of us watch foreign movies. “I don’t know
what they’re talking about, but the fight scenes
are amazing.” [ Laughter, cheers, applause ] In fact, the CNN moderators… The moderators were so
interested in getting the candidates to go after
each other that, all night, they were cutting people off
before they could finish their answers
just so they could go to someone else for a response. -…coverage like
mental healthcare — -Thank you, Mr. Mayor. -…to make it harder for you
to afford it — -Thank you, Senator Gillibrand. -…demoralizing us in the face
of the real enemy here — -Thank you, Senator. -Our plan covers everyone…
-Thank you, Senator. -…and gives people choice.
-Thank you, Senator. -My God, this debate was like
a game of “Taboo” where every word
was forbidden. “I believe we need health –”
[ Buzzer ] “I’m sorry, Senator,
you can’t say the word health. It’s on the card.”
[ Laughter ] In fact, there were multiple
times when Biden was answering a question
and then literally just stopped talking in
the middle of a sentence when he was cut off. -The Biden Plan,
which is Obamacare — -Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
Thank you. -It’s a crime,
and it’s not one that in fact — -Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
[ Laughter ] -Beyond the cost of inflation
from this point on. And the —
-Thank you, Mr. Vice President. [ Laughter ] -He gave up so easily.
Didn’t even finish his — It’s like when your grandpa
tries to speak up at the dinner table
and no one hears him. “I have a story about
restauran– Oh, never mind.” [ Laughter ] How you gonna fight for America when you can’t even
fight through the timer? Also, you know if you end up
as the nominee and you’re running
against Donald Trump, he’s never gonna stop talking. You’re gonna
have to talk over him. Have you seen him? His mouth never stops moving. He’s always
fighting with reporters and doing that thing where he draws little boxes
with his hands. [ Laughter ] “I was watching the debate
tonight on a TV shaped like this,
but then I got bored and switched
to ‘The Bachelorette.'” [ Laughter ] One of the big divides in the debate
was over health insurance, with the more progressive
candidates on stage wanting to expand Medicare
through various versions of Medicare for All,
but Biden’s plan is more modest, claiming he would allow people
to keep their private insurance if they like it. -The idea that this is somehow
a bad idea, no one has to keep
their private insurance. But if they like
their insurance, they should be able to keep it. Nothing is demanded in my plan
that there be private insurance. It says if the 160 million
people who have it say they like
their employer insurance, they should have
a right to have it. -I’m sorry, but who likes
their private insurance? Nobody likes going to the E.R.
for a sprained ankle and then getting 58 envelopes
in the mail from Anthem. [ Laughter ] I keep hearing this
talking point from moderates. I’ve never heard anyone say,
“You can take my HMO when you pry it from my cold,
dead hands, which will be probably
be pretty soon because it doesn’t
cover my meds.” [ Laughter ] Later, Biden took on de Blasio
over the price of Medicare for All,
claiming it would cost too much, even though several candidates
have laid out specific, detailed plans
for how they would pay for it. And Biden used this line
on de Blasio. -The fact of the matter is
that there will be a deductible. It will be a deductible
on your paycheck. Bernie acknowledges.
Bernie acknowledges. $30 trillion
has to ultimately be paid, and I don’t know what math
you do in New York, I don’t know what math
you do in California, but I tell you,
that’s a lot of money. -Be careful, because the most
common math equation in New York is adding “Go” to “F yourself.” [ Laughter, cheers, applause ] Biden… Biden also pushed back
on criticisms of his more moderate plan and busted out
one of his old catch phrases. -What we’ve got
is a public option that, in fact, would allow
anybody to buy in. No one has to keep
their private insurance. They can buy into this plan. And they can buy into it
with a $1,000 deductible and never pay more than 8.5%
of their income when they do it. And if they don’t have any
money, they’ll get in free. So this idea
is a bunch of malarkey. -There it is!
Mwah! “A bunch of malarkey”
is Joe Biden’s “More cowbell.” [ Cheers ]
And I love it. But again, it does make him
seem a little old. It’s something
you expect to hear shouted from atop an old-timey bicycle. “5 cents for a nickelodeon?
That’s a bunch of malarkey!” [ Laughter ] The debate then shifted
to criminal justice reform with a specific focus on Biden’s
record on several bills, including the 1994 crime bill. First,
Biden seemed to get confused and gave Booker a new title. -The fact is that the bills
that the president — that — excuse me —
the future president here — that the Senator’s
talking about… -Wait. What?
Go back. [ Laughter ] Did he just endorse Cory Booker?
[ Laughter ] Did he forget that he’s also
running for president? [ Laughter ] “Oh, what?
This is a presidential debate? Oh, I’m just here to mix it up
and have fun. It’s malarkey time!”
[ Laughter ] “Let’s get malarkey.”
[ Cheers and applause ] Then, Biden actually tried
to question booker’s record as mayor of Newark, and it
did not end well for Biden. -We have a system right now
that’s broken, and if you want
to compare records, and, frankly,
I’m shocked that you do, I am happy to do that. -Why did you announce
in the first day a zero-tolerance policy
of stop-and-frisk and hire Rudy Giuliani’s guy
in 2007 when I was trying to get rid
of the crack cocaine — -Well, Mr. Vice President,
there’s a saying in my community —
you’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t even
know the flavor. -Damn. There is no way Biden
even knows what that means. [ Laughter ] Because I am 35 years
younger than him and I don’t know
what that means. [ Laughter ] Biden probably
took it literally. “Kool-Aid?
I can’t have all that sugar!” [ Laughter ] Then, finally, the debate moved
on to the climate crisis. Several candidates have signed
on to the Green New Deal. The moderators asked
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand if such an ambitious plan
was possible, and she busted out
this one-liner. -You are co-sponsor
of the Green New Deal, which includes the guarantee
of a job with medical leave, paid vacations,
and retirement security for everyone in America. Explain how that’s realistic. -So, the first thing
that I’m gonna do when I’m president is I’m gonna
Clorox the Oval Office. -Okay, first of all,
I don’t think it’s legal to use bleach
on an active crime scene. [ Laughter ] Secondly…
[ Cheers and applause ] …you’re definitely gonna need
something stronger than Clorox. I would try burning sage
or holding a seance. And you’re gonna need
a belt sander just to get the ketchup stains
off the desk. Then, it came time
for the closing statements, a chance for candidates to
direct voters to their websites or give them a number to text
to join the campaign, but when Biden had his chance,
he seemed to garble it. -If you agree with me,
go to Joe 30330. [ Laughter ] -Joe 3033– Is that the name of your
homemade rocket ship? [ Laughter ] Did you just accidentally tell
everyone your ATM PIN number? [ Laughter ] Is this some sort of weird clue? It’s like being
in an escape room. “What does it say
under that lamp? Go to Joe 3033–
We need a clue master. Clue master!”
[ Laughter ] It really doesn’t work
when Joe Biden tries to seem young and hip. “Go to Joe 30330
on the world wide web. Hey, you know what? Throw a dot-com on there
if you want. [ Laughter ] Once again, the debate showcased sharp differences
on important issues. Whatever you think
of the candidates, it was nice to hear 10 people
speak coherently about actual policies. Meanwhile, Trump is probably wandering around
the White House, rambling to his aides about
how he’s gonna be President until the year…
-30330. This has been
“A Closer Look.” [ Cheers and applause ]

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