Feb 25, 2020

Will Everyone Pile On Bernie Tonight? Updates From South Carolina Democratic Debate

It’s debate time again, and all eyes are on South Carolina for what should be another heated battle between the seven remaining Democratic candidates. Since the Nevada debate less than a week ago, candidates have been gearing up with receipts — Sen. Elizabeth Warren forced former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg’s hand when he agreed to release women from his company’s NDAs. Meanwhile, former vice president Joe Biden came under fire after saying that he was arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela — a fact that has since been disproved — and the epic battle between South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar is sure to continue on tonight’s stage.

But, the candidate to beat is still Sen. Bernie Sanders, who recently won the Nevada caucus following a steady lead (with the exception of Iowa) in all of the early states so far. Sanders, who in the last two debates has been called out for being a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, is anticipated to continue his winning streak, which will likely make him a target at tonight’s debate. Joining the aforementioned on stage will be Tom Steyer, who did not qualify for the last debate, but is back alongside a second billionaire candidate for the first time ever. Ahead, we’ve mapped out all the biggest moments from the South Carolina debate.

Liz backs up Bernie’s progressive ideas (but says she’d be a better president).

Although they share a lot of the same progressive ideas, Warren says she’d make a better president because she can actually get things done. She also pointedly says that Bernie’s team has “trashed” her. Pete Buttigieg butts in to say that if we think America’s divisive now, wait until we have a Trump vs. Bernie showdown.

Gayle grills the candidates on stop and frisk.

Gayle King came prepared to ask tough questions tonight, and she immediately turned the attention to Bloomberg’s history with stop and frisk laws in New York. King said that although Bloomberg has apologized for stop and frisk, she wants to know exactly what he is apologizing for. Bloomberg’s fairly rehearsed answer, he apologized again for his record with targeting black and brown people as New York mayor, but it was Mayor Pete who had a bit of a hero moment, calling out the fact that every candidate on the debate stage is white.

Elizabeth Warren hammers Bloomberg on his comments and NDAs — again.

After she talked about her experience with pregnancy discrimination, Warren and Bloomberg go back and forth on whether he truly told a pregnant coworker to “kill it,” which he categorically claims he never said. Bloomberg then says he thinks he’s done enough by releasing women at his company from their NDAs, purporting that he’s never been accused of making more than a “joke” that he “probably” shouldn’t have made. For Warren, this isn’t enough — the senator who has gone after Bloomberg’s history of offensive comments about women plans to hold him accountable at every turn.

Bernie Sanders: “here’s how we’re going to pay for it.”

Bernie Sanders released a document detailing how he’s going to pay for Medicare for All and other plans earlier this week. When the moderators asked him about his spending plans, the other candidates piled on about why they don’t believe they’re realistic. It’s the first of probably many moments in the night where Sanders will be the target of all other candidates.

Warren says Democrats won’t get gun reform passed without abolishing the filibuster.

Amy Klobuchar brings up her bill to close the boyfriend loophole.

Amy Klobuchar refers to her bill calling to close the “boyfriend loophole,” which is a legislation gap allowing physically abusive ex-boyfriends with convictions to continue accessing guns. Biden immediately jumps on Klobuchar to take credit for his role in writing the bill, igniting a heated moment between the two.

Bloomberg thinks he won the last debate…?

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Here’s what Bloomberg meant when he mentioned the naked cowboy.

Bloomberg seems to be full of jokes tonight, and one of them is a shout out to New York’s infamous Naked Cowboy — a Times Square staple. For those outside of New York, the Naked Cowboy is exactly what it sounds like: an actor and singer who performs in Times Square wearing only a cowboy hat, tighty whities, and a strategically placed guitar.

Bernie Sanders wants to legalize marijuana on day 1

Sanders is famously the pro-weed candidate — though his position on this is not necessarily resonated in everyone on stage. When asked about his plan to legalize marijuana nationally during his first day in office, Bloomberg claps back, saying that there is not enough research to allow a potentially “dangerous” drug to be freely wielded. Klobuchar brings up the possibilities of regulations — mostly pointing to the continued opioid crisis in the U.S. — but when it comes back to Bernie, he pulls out all the receipts. According to the Vermont senator, not only is marijuana legalization favorable for recreational use, but mainstreaming the drug will also help people of color start businesses and is one step closer to ending the war on drugs.

The candidates are asked about coronavirus.

The candidates are asked on how they would handle the coronavirus outbreak. Klobuchar passionately stresses that Americans educate themselves by understanding how the CDC is handing coronavirus, while Biden points the blame on Trump cutting funding of the CDC for potentially creating a pandemic.

Bernie & Pete spend a full two minutes screaming over each other.

All the candidates (but mostly Pete) continue to pile on Bernie about “praising” authoritarian leaders. Bernie has clarified that he does not condone Fidel Castro’s authoritarian regime, but simply stated the fact that he increased literacy in his country. As Pete keeps digging, Bernie can’t seem to get a word in, and the two end up screaming over each other for what seems like an eternity (even debate moderators could not get a word in during their simultaneous rants).

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Bernie’s team hit back on Pete for his comments.

Bernie & Bloomberg are asked about their plans for Israel as Jewish candidates.

Moderators address a point that has yet to come up in any debate: if Bernie (and now Bloomberg) were elected to office, the United States would have their first Jewish president in history. Bernie says that he is proud of being Jewish, but there is a “reactionary racist” running Israel, and that needs to be stop. Pointing his comments to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he says that he wants justice for Palestinians. Bloomberg, the other Jewish candidate on stage, weighs in suggesting a two-state solution as his plan of action. Bloomberg also speaks against moving the American embassy back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and calls illegal settlements “new communities.”

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