Night two of the Detroit Democratic debates is in the books. There weren’t as many sparks as there were on night one, but there were hecklers. Here are the most entertaining moments from the last of the debates with this ridiculously large field (qualifying for the next debate is much harder, thankfully).
‘Go easy on me, kid’
Joe Biden began the night with yet another cringeworthy moment. As each candidate was brought to the stage, Biden welcomed Kamala Harris with some good old-fashioned condescension. “Go easy on me, kid,” Biden said to the 54-year-old United States senator. The context was clear: In last month’s debate, Harris forcefully went after Biden’s record on busing and segregation in schools. Biden has said he was unprepared for the confrontation and subsequently vowed to not be caught off guard again. Later, it would become clear that he asked the wrong senator to play nice.
Protesters chant ‘Fire Pantaleo’
It began, quietly, during Bill de Blasio’s opening statement, and crescendoed during Cory Booker’s. Chants of “Fire Pantaleo” rang through the Fox Theatre in Detroit as protesters were removed and the action on the stage came to a halt.
Pantaleo is Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD cop who put Eric Garner in a chokehold just before the 43-year-old father of six died on the sidewalk in Staten Island. Earlier this month, Attorney General William Barr made sure federal civil-rights charges against Pantaleo were dropped.
Dunking on Uncle Joe
There was no shortage of moments in which candidates with lower poll numbers than Biden (all of them) put the former vice-president in their crosshairs.
Julián Castro did it after Biden brought up their time together in the Obama administration. Castro, the former HUD secretary, wasn’t so progressive on immigration a decade ago, Biden alleged. Castro didn’t dispute the point, but he did point out his evolution on the issue: “It looks like one of us has learned the lessons of the past, and one of us hasn’t.”
Cory Booker also hit Biden with a handful of haymakers.
Gillibrand’s plan to literally scour the Oval
Kirsten Gillibrand had a couple standout moments that came at the expense of the Republican in the White House and the Democrat who, at this point at least, seems likeliest to take him on in the general election.
On Trump, Gillibrand said, “The first thing I’m going to do as president is I am going to Clorox the Oval Office.”
Her attack on Biden was a bit more nuanced. Gillibrand pressed Biden on an op-ed he wrote as a senator outlining his opposition to the child-tax credit. In the op-ed, Gillibrand said, Biden claimed that women working outside of the home would lead to “the deterioration of family.”
Biden shot back at Gillibrand, suggesting that she was a fan of his until she started running for president.
Go to Joe 30330?
In his closing statement, Biden stumbled when he attempted to direct viewers to text JOE to 30330. Instead, he said, “Go to Joe 3-0-3-3-0, and help me in this fight.” Immediately, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign team bought up Joe30330.com and redirected it to the South Bend mayor’s website — and then a battle over the URL ensued. What a world.