Wednesday night’s Democratic debate Pt. II allowed a smattering of underdog candidates a chance to try and raise their profile by taking shots at two of the race’s frontrunners – Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris.
But it was Joe Biden who took the most heat Wednesday night, taking fire from all sides regarding his record on abortion rights, crime and immigration. Many also questioned whether a candidate like Biden, who is out of touch with progressive base voters who favor an agenda set by the “Squad,” could successfully mobilize the base and boost turnout.
Biden and Harris led in terms of speaking time, with the vice president commanding 20 whole minutes (while Harris came in second with 17.7 minutes).
The night’s most-tweeted moment was this exchange between Sen. Cory Booker and Biden, where Booker accused Biden of hypocrisy after the VP questioned Booker’s embrace of tough-on-crime policing tactics like stop-and-frisk, as well as the hiring of a former Giuliani advisor during his time as mayor of Newark.
Of course, Biden’s record involves helping write the controversial 1994 crime bill that dramatically widened sentencing disparities between black and white inmates.
“If you want to compare records, and I’m shocked that you do, I’m happy to do that,” Booker said to Biden Wednesday.
Here’s how the Daily Show used the clip.
The moment Booker dropped Kool-Aid pic.twitter.com/4cuzvKeDL1
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 1, 2019
Another widely discussed moment from the debate on Twitter was this exchange between Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Harris, where Gabbard took Harris to task for jailing thousands of offenders for low-level marijuana-relaed offenses: “I’m concerned about this record of Senator Harris. She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) August 1, 2019
But perhaps the most embarrassing moment of the night for either frontrunner was this gaffe involving Biden, where the former vice president during his closing statement told viewers “If you agree with me, go to Joe 30330 and help me in this fight.” However, that site didn’t exist, and viewers soon concluded that Biden had meant to say “Text JOE to 30330.”
Joe Biden ended his debate night with a viral gaffe. He stared straight into the camera and said: “If you agree with me, go to Joe 30330 and help me in this fight.” Cue immediate confusion. (Viewers concluded Biden meant to tell his supporters to text his name to the number.) pic.twitter.com/vsYm4eHkgG
— POLITICO (@politico) August 1, 2019
But rival campaigns were quick to strike: Domains like ‘www.joe30330.com‘ were soon redirecting people to Buttigieg’s campaign site.
Another one of the most tweeted moments from last night’s debate came courtesy of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who said that “the first thing I’m going to do when I’m president is I’m going to Clorox the Oval Office.”
— CNN (@CNN) August 1, 2019
Those were the top moments according to Twitter. And while Harris and Biden, the two leading candidates in the debate, were busy defending more centrist positions like private health care and keeping border-crossing illegal, critics and left-wing media personalities alike soon noted that the tone of the Democratic debates is moving increasingly leftward.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo notes that the Democrat presidential candidates do not represent the party’s voters:
“In the party … 8 of 10 say, ‘We are center left, not far-left.’ … that’s not what you are getting on these debate stages” pic.twitter.com/hhPtQAJo90
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 1, 2019